A Welfare Economic Analysis of Labor Market Policies in the Harris-Todaro Model
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This paper presents a welfare economic analysis of the benefits of various labor market policies in the Harris-Todaro labor market model. The policies considered are a policy of modern sector job creation, which I call modern sector enlargement (MSENL); a policy of rural development, which I call traditional sector enrichment (TSENR); and a policy of wage limitation in the urban economy, which I call modern sector wage restraint (MSWR). First, I analyze the inequality effects of these policies. I then perform two welfare economic analyses, the first based on summary measures of labor market conditions (total labor earnings, unemployment, inequality of labor incomes, and poverty rates) and the second based on dominance analysis in the labor market, in both cases assuming that the costs are borne elsewhere. The results of the welfare analyses are compared, and it is shown that TSENR unambiguously increases welfare in the labor market using both approaches, the other policies yield ambiguous results, and no policy is unambiguously welfare-decreasing.
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welfare; employment; job creation; labor market; economic growth; Harris-Todaro model
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Required Publisher Statement: Reprinted with permission of Elsevier. Final version published as Fields, G. S. (2005). A welfare economic analysis of labor market policies in the Harris-Todaro model. Journal of Development Economics, 76, 127-146.