Overemployment, Underemployment and the opportunity cost of time: Building policy agendas for developing economies

Thomas BARRE
University f Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne, France

Focusing on individual labor market positions, this article proposes a new approach to elicit and measure constraints faced by rural households. Under market imperfections, individuals fail to equalize their hourly income to their shadow wage and become over- or underemployed. We estimate and explain this gap in a stochastic frontier framework for rural Vietnam. Both employees and farmers are found to fail in equalizing their hourly income to their shadow wage. Constraints faced by farmers are found to be stronger than that of employees: farmers’ marginal revenue of labor is 3 times higher than their shadow wage while market wages earned by employees are 1.5 times higher than their shadow wages. Price risk is found to be the most important constraint faced by Vietnamese rural farmers while employees would benefit from the development of the road network.

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