Sticks Rather than Carrots to Induce More Formality - Economic Research Forum (ERF)

Sticks Rather than Carrots to Induce More Formality

Aysit Tansel

April, 2016


6 pages

J6. Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers

In a nutshell

  • Formalizing informal firms and employment has a number of potential benefits for the government, firms, workers, the economy and society.
  • These include: increased tax revenue; more efficient reallocation of resources; increased output and income for firms and the economy; decent working conditions for workers; orderly work and business environments; and improved morality for society.
  • Reforms to encourage firms to register and formalize can come in the form of both inducements such as better information and lower costs (carrots) and legal enforcement (sticks).
  • Research shows that better enforcement policies, inspection and fines may have a larger impact than reducing the costs of registration, simplifying the rules and regulations and disseminating information on registration procedures. However, the two are not mutually exclusive.
  • Policymakers should use an integrated strategy to bring informal workers and entrepreneurs into formal channels of protection, support and responsibilities with registration, while preserving their resilience and dynamic potentials.
  • Wider development and growth policies are important to help firms and workers move into the formal economy. They should also include skills training programs for upgrading skills of workers and entrepreneurs, microfinance and reforms for extension of social security coverage.
Research Fellows

Aysit Tansel

Professor, Middle East Technical University, Turkey



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