Saibal Kar

  • Current position:
    Associate Professor of Economics, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, India
  • Positions/functions as policy advisor:
    Member State-level Expert Committee for DFID-JU Economics Project on Trade and Openness in India; Report and Advocacy for Development of the Religious Minority Concentrated Districts in India, Ministry of Minority Affairs, Government of India and ICSSR, New Delhi; Estimate and Policy Advice regarding Trade in Health Services in India, to the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics, Ministry of Commerce, Government of India
  • Research interest:
    Labor economics, international economics, and development economics
  • Website:
  • Affiliations:
    Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, and Presidency University, India, and IZA, Germany
  • Past positions:
    Visiting Scholar at Amsterdam School of Economics and Department of Economics, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 2010; Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow, HWWI, Germany, 2008; Visiting Researcher, Santa Fe Institute, NM, USA
  • Qualifications:
    PhD Economics, Northern Illinois University, 2002
  • Personal statement about IZA World of Labor:
    IZA World of Labor involves a very different form of presenting research in labor, development, and many other issues. As pursued by World of Labor, it becomes one of the most challenging tasks to comprehend various policy issues associated with one or two key research findings. World of Labor travels the depth of research-to-policy and offers a unique experience to all
  • Selected publications:
    • International Trade and Economic Development. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014 (with R. Acharyya).
    • The Outsiders: Economic Reform and Informal Labour in a Developing Economy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011 (with S. Marjit).
    • “FDI and business internationalization of the unorganized sector: Evidence from Indian manufacturing.” World Development 83 (2016): 340–349 (with H. Beladi and M. Dutta).
    • “Public and private sector jobs, unreported income and consumption gap in India: Evidence from micro-data.” The North American Journal of Economics and Finance 29:C (2014): 285–300 (with S. Saha and P. Roy).
    • “Emigration and wage inequality.” Economics Letters 88:1 (2005): 141–145 (with S. Marjit).
  • Articles

Do economic reforms hurt or help the informal labor market?

The evidence is mixed on whether and how economic reforms benefit informal labor

June 2016

10.15185/izawol.263 263

by Saibal Kar Kar, S

The evidence is mixed on whether informal labor in developing countries benefits from trade and labor market reforms. Reforms lead to higher wages and improved employment conditions in the informal sector in some cases, and to the opposite effect in others. At a cross-country level, lifting trade protection boosts informal-sector employment. The direction and size of the impacts on informal-sector employment and wages are determined by capital mobility and the interactions between trade and labor market reforms and public policies, such as monitoring the formal sector. To guarantee best practice policymakers need to take these interdependencies into account.