Nº 107 (October, 2010). Mariana Viollaz. 

“Empleo informal y apertura comercial: evidencia de 20 años de reformas en Argentina”.

This study examines the relationship between trade reforms and the phenomenon of informal employment in the manufacture industry in the Greater Buenos Aires during the period 1980-2001. The combination of information on import tariffs and the labor force microdata allows us to design an identification strategy based on the variability of the degree of protection among industries over time. The results support the theory that trade liberalization with firms looking to cut costs is one of the possible mechanisms for the increase in informal work, either eliminating retirement benefits for its employees or laying off workers, which are then incorporated as informal employees by other firms in the same industry. More specifically, trade liberalization explains 4% of the observed increase in the rate of informality of manufacturing industries during the period.