Labor Regulations and the Cost of Corruption: Evidence from the Indian Firm Size Distribution

Amrit Amirapu (The University of Kent)
Michael Gechter (The Pennsylvania State University)

Abstract: In this paper, we estimate the costs associated with a suite of labor regulations in India whose components have gone largely unstudied in developing countries. We take advantage of the fact that these regulations only apply to firms above a size threshold. Using distortions in the firm size distribution at the threshold together with a structural model of firm size choice, we estimate that the regulations increase firms’ unit labor costs by 35%. We document a robust positive association between regulatory costs and exposure to corruption, which may explain why regulations appear to be so costly in developing countries.

Download the paper