Working Papers

Institutional Enforcement, Labor-Market Rigidities, and Economic Performance

CODE: WP-589
AUTHOR(s): Calderón, César , Chong, Alberto , León, Gianmarco
PUBLISHED: October 2006
RELATED TOPICS: Macroeconomics


This paper study the issue of institutional enforcement of regulations by focusing on labor-market policies and their potential link to economic performance. It test the different impacts of enforceable and non-enforceable labor regulations by proxying non-enforceable labor rigidity measures using data on conventions from the International Labor Organization (ILO). It has been argued that non-enforceable conventions -that is, those that exist on paper and are simply de jure regulations -appear to be more distortionary and tend to be the least enforced in practice (Squire and Suthiwart-Narueput, 1997). According to Freeman (1993), these conventions reflect the ideal regulatory framework from an institutionalist perspective and cover a variety of labor market issues, from child labor to placement agencies. Whereas in theory, a country's ratification of ILO conventions gives the country legal status and thus supersedes domestic regulations relating to those issues, in practice the degree of labor-market rigidity depends on how the conventions are enforced. It is the outcome of the regulations that matters, rather than their number.

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