Labor Market Dynamics, Informality and Regulations in Latin America

Produced by: 
International Monetary Fund
Available from: 
January 2020
Paper author(s): 
Antonio David
Samuel Pienknagura
Jorge Roldos

Labor markets in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) are characterized by high levels of informality and relatively rigid regulation. This paper shows that these two features are related and together make the speed of adjustment of employment to shocks slower, especially when regulations are tightly enforced. Evidence suggests that strict labor market regulations also have an adverse effect on medium-term growth. While both regulations on prices (minimum wages) and quantities (employment protection) decrease the speed of adjustment to shocks, they appear to be binding in different phases of the cycle—the former affects mostly the (net) job creation margin and the latter the (net) job destruction margin. The results also highlight possible interactions between labor market regulations and the effectiveness of macro-stabilization tools—including exchange rate depreciation.


Research section: 
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