Khalid ElFayoumi, Anta Ndoye, Sanaa Nadeem, and Gregory Auclair
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
Institutional and market frictions impose costs on the reallocation of labor from low to high
productivity sectors, leading to suboptimal allocations and a loss in aggregate labor productivity.
Using cross-country sector-level data, we use a dynamic panel error correction model to compute
the speed of sectoral labor adjustment, as well as the contribution of structural reforms in
governance, labor and product markets, trade and openness, and the financial sector to lowering
the costs of labor reallocation. We find that, on average, sectoral employment shares converge
towards equilibrium allocations, closing about 13.7 percent of labor productivity gaps each year;
this speed of labor adjustment varies across sectors and income groups. On structural reforms, we
find a significant association between more efficient labor reallocation and financial market
liberalization, less bureaucracy, strong judicial and regulatory environment, trade liberalization,
better education and more flexible labor and product markets.