Monday, May 5, 2008

New Papers on Informal Sector and R&D Spillovers and Institutions

Both are from the IMF Working Papers.

Measuring the Informal Economy in Latin America and the Caribbean

This paper estimates the size of the informal economy for 32 mainly Latin American and Caribbean countries in the early 2000s. Using a structural equation modeling approach, we find that a stringent tax system and regulatory environment, higher inflation, and dominance of the agriculture sector are key factors in determining the size of the informal economy. The results also confirm that a higher degree of informality reduces labor unionization, the number of contributors to social security schemes, and enrollment rates in education.

International R&D Spillovers and Institutions

The empirical analysis in "International R&D Spillovers" (Coe and Helpman, 1995) is first revisited by applying modern panel cointegration estimation techniques to an expanded data set that we have constructed for the purpose of this study. The new estimates confirm the key results reported in Coe and Helpman about the impact of domestic and foreign R&D capital stocks on TFP. In addition, we show that domestic and foreign R&D capital stocks have measurable impacts on TFP even after controlling for the impact of human capital. Furthermore, we extend the analysis to include institutional variables, such as legal origin and patent protection, in order to allow for parameter heterogeneity based on a country's institutional characteristics. The results suggest that institutional differences are important determinants of total factor productivity and that they impact the degree of R&D spillovers.