Informal Work and Life Satisfaction in Colombia 1997-2011

David A. Hurtado, Harvard University

Job informality is a social protection issue in emerging economies, however, less in known about its well-being consequences. We estimated the association of job informality on life satisfaction, and examined whether towns’ unemployment rate moderated this effect. We used data from three repeated cross-sectional, nationally representative surveys of Colombia, conducted in 1997, 2005 and 2011, (n=5,024 in 56 towns). Job informality prevalence ranged from 52% to 68%. Adjusted, pooled analyses showed that informal workers averaged less life satisfaction than their formal counterparts (ß=-0.16, 95%CI -0.30, -0.01 p<0.05). Job informality could be a marker of precarious employment including adverse occupational exposures, lower-wages, and limited social protection, factors that could diminish subjective well-being.

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Presented in Poster Session 8: Economy, Labor Force, Education, and Inequality/Gender, Race and Ethnicity