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Trade liberalization and informality nexus: Evidence from Pakistan

Mengyun Wu, Jabbar Ul-Haq, Naeem uz Zafar, Huaping Sun and Jingyu Jiang

The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, 2019, vol. 28, issue 6, 732-754

Abstract: This study investigates the impact of trade openness on informal sector employment during the drastic 1988s trade reforms of Pakistan. It is generally perceived that increased external competition in less developed countries results in as an expansion in informal sector, which has less compliance with labor market regulations. Using micro-level data of Pakistan, we study the adjustments in the employment of informal sector due to trade openness. We find that informality and trade openness are associated. In Pakistan, trade reforms have given rise to employment in the informal sector. Our findings are robust to different trade-related measures. A substantial flexibility in labor market is required to benefit from the gains of liberalization.

Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1080/09638199.2019.1593489

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The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development is currently edited by Pasquale Sgro, David E.A. Giles and Charles van Marrewijk

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