Financial frictions, informality and income inequality
Giovanni Merlin () and
Vladimir Teles ()
No 374, Textos para discussão from FGV EESP - Escola de Economia de São Paulo, Fundação Getulio Vargas (Brazil)
We studied the effects of changes in banking spreads on distributions of income, wealth and consumption as well as the welfare of the economy. This analysis was based on a model of heterogeneous agents with incomplete markets and occupational choice, in which the informality of firms and workers is a relevant transmission channel. The main finding is that reductions in spreads for firms increase the proportion of entrepreneurs and formal workers in the economy, thereby decreasing the size of the informal sector. The effects on inequality, however, are ambiguous and depend on wage dynamics and government transfers. Reductions in spreads for individuals lead to a reduction in inequality indicators at the expense of consumption and aggregate welfare. By calibrating the model to Brazil for the 2003-2012 period, it is possible to find results in line with the recent drop in informality and the wage gap between formal and informal workers
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