Strict Duality and Overlapping Productivity Distributions Between Formal and Informal Firms

Published in: Journal of Development Economics, Volume 135 (November 2018), Pages 534-554. doi:10.1016/j.jdeveco.2018.08.011

Posted on RAND.org on September 19, 2018

by Jeffrey Allen, Shanthi Nataraj, Tyler Schipper

Read More

Access further information on this document at Journal of Development Economics

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

This paper develops a multi-industry general equilibrium model where entrepreneurs within each industry can decide to operate formally or informally. The model generates a rich set of predictions including productivity cut-offs for formal and informal firms to operate within different industries. We allow fixed costs to vary across industries, resulting in overlapping productivity distributions between formal and informal firms in the aggregate, but strict duality within industries. In doing so, we are able to generate and test predictions with regard to heterogeneity in informality across industries for the case of Indian manufacturing establishments. Consistent with the model, we find that the overlap between formal and informal establishments in the aggregate is larger than the overlaps within industries. Informality tends to decrease with average industry productivity and establishment size. Finally, more productive industries have greater overlaps in productivity between formal and informal establishments.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.