Does informality facilitate inflation stability?

Produced by: 
Bank of International Settlements
Available from: 
April 2019
Paper author(s): 
Enrique Alberola
Carlos Urrutia

Informality is an entrenched structural trait in emerging market economies, despite of the progress achieved in macroeconomic management. Informality determines the behavior of labour markets, financial access and the productivity of the overall economy. Therefore it influences the transmission of shocks and also of monetary policy. This paper develops a simple general equilibrium closed economy model with nominal rigidities, labor and financial frictions. Informality is captured by a dual labour market where the share of informal workers is endogenous. Only formal sector firms have access to financing, which is instrumental in their production process. Informality has a bu↵ering e↵ect on the propagation of demand and supply shocks to prices; the financial feature of the model exacerbates the impact of financial shocks in the formal sector while the informal sector is in principle una↵ected. As a result informality dampens the impact of demand and financial shocks on wages and inflation but heighten the impact of technology shocks. Informality also increases the sacrifice ratio of monetary policy actions. From a Central Bank perspective, the results imply that the presence of an informal sector mitigates inflation volatility for some type of shocks but makes monetary policy less e↵ective.


Research section: 
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