1st Edition

Asian Informal Workers Global Risks Local Protection

By Santosh K. Mehrotra, Mario Biggeri Copyright 2007
    508 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    512 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This thoroughly researched volume surveys the nature and extent of 'informal' work in Asia, which is a powerful and under-studied force in the region. 

    After over half a century of development, even in the fast growing economies of Asia, the formal sector, and industrial jobs have grown rather slowly, and most non-agricultural employment growth has occurred in the informal economy. At the same time as this, there has been a feminization of informal workers and growth in subcontracted homework.

    Drawing on detailed case studies carried out in five Asian countries - two low income (India and Pakistan) and three middle income (Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines) – where subcontracted production, usually by women and children working out of home, is now widespread, this insightful book acknowledges that home-based work is the source of income diversification for poor families, but is also the source of exploitation of vulnerable workers and child labour as firms attempt to contain costs.

    This wide-ranging and accessible survey, edited by key specialists in this field, along with an impressive team of contributors, examines the social protection needs of these workers arguing convincingly for public action to promote such work and protect these workers as a possible new labour intensive growth strategy in developing countries.

    Contents  Illustrations  Abbreviations  Preface  Part 1: A Cross-country Analysis of Industrial Outwork in Asia  1. The Empirical Context and a Theoretical Framework  2. Research Methodology  3. Subcontracting and the Value Chain in Home Work  4. Home Workers  5. Child Labour in Home Work  Part 2: The Country Studies  6. Subcontracted Home-based Work in India: A case study of bidi, agarbathi and zardosi  7. Hazardous Home-based Subcontracted Work in Pakistan  8. Women and Children Home-based Workers in Indonesia  9. Subcontracted Home-based Work by Women and Children in the Philippines  10. Subcontracted Home-based Work in Thailand  Part 3: Policy Implications  11. Extending Social Insurance to Informal Wage Workers  Bibliography  Index


    Santosh Mehrotra is a senior policy advisor for the United Nations Development Program based in Bangkok, Thailand. His books include Development With a Human Face (edited with R. Jolly, 1997); Eliminating Human Poverty: Macro economic Policies for Equitable Growth; and The Economics of Elementary Education in India.

    Mario Biggeri is senior lecturer in development economics at the University of Florence, Italy. His research interests include economies of transition, international aid, clusters and informal activities, rural development, and child labour and child's capabilities, and he has published widely in these areas.

    ".. a very interesting book which breaks new ground in examining the interconnection between child labour and women's home-based work...essential reading for anyone working on child labour, women's work, and informal work.

    "The policy recommendations are well-argued and innovative... It finds a way through the dilemma that attempts to outlaw child labour in home based work will not work and can harm those they seek to help.

    " a book that Routledge can be proud of." - Diane Elson, University of Essex

    "...This book is an empirically grounded and policy focussed contribution to debates about how to enhance human security in conditions of flexibility and change."  - Bob Deacon, Professor of Global Social Policy, Sheffield University