This paper explores the links among growth, the informal economy, and rent-seeking bureaucracies. The presence of congestion associated with the enforcement of property right implies that informality can be useful. Whether bureaucratic rent-seeking is detrimental to growth then depends on how good a substitute informality is to production in the formal sector. In order to create profits which can be appropriated, rent-seeking bureaucrats limit entry into the formal economy. As a result, firms operate in the informal sector even when the cost of informality is high, in which case lower growth emerges. However, when the cost of informality is low, a large number of firms choose to operate informally irrespective of entry conditions. In the latter case, growth is unaffected by a rent-seeking bureaucracy as entry restrictions in the formal economy do not bind.
Our Research Focus: Economic Growth and Business Cycles