The Informal Economy Revisited : Examining the Past, Envisioning the Future book cover
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The Informal Economy Revisited
Examining the Past, Envisioning the Future



ISBN 9780367191511
Published July 14, 2020 by Routledge
326 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations

 
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Book Description

This landmark volume brings together leading scholars in the field to investigate recent conceptual shifts, research findings and policy debates on the informal economy as well as future challenges and directions for research and policy. Well over half of the global workforce and the vast majority of the workforce in developing countries work in the informal economy, and in countries around the world new forms of informal employment are emerging. Yet the informal workforce is not well understood, remains undervalued and is widely stigmatised.  

Contributors to the volume bridge a range of disciplinary perspectives including anthropology, development economics, law, political science, social policy, sociology, statistics, urban planning and design. The Informal Economy Revisited also focuses on specific groups of informal workers, including home-based workers, street vendors and waste pickers, to provide a grounded insight into disciplinary debates. Ultimately, the book calls for a paradigm shift in how the informal economy is perceived to reflect the realities of informal work in the Global South, as well as the informal practices of the state and capital, not just labour. 

The Informal Economy Revisited is the culmination of 20 years of pioneering work by WIEGO (Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing), a global network of researchers, development practitioners and organisations of informal workers in 90 countries. Researchers, practitioners, policy-makers and advocates will all find this book an invaluable guide to the significance and complexities of the informal economy, and its role in today’s globalised economy.

The Open Access version of this book, available at

https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9780429200724, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license

Table of Contents

List of illustrations

List of Contributors

Acknowledgements

INTRODUCTION – Martha Chen and Françoise Carré

PART 1 – THE INFORMAL ECONOMY REVISITED

1. Informality: The Bane of the Labouring Poor under Globalized Capitalism – Jan Breman

2. India’s Informal Economy: Past, Present and Future – Barbara Harriss-White

PART 2 – INFORMAL EMPLOYMENT: ADVANCES IN STATISTICS AND RESEARCH

3. Informal Employment: Advances in Statistics and WlEGO’s Contribution – Joann Vanek

4. Informal Employment in Developed Countries: Relevance and Statistical Measurement – Françoise Carré

5. The Measurement of Informal Employment in Mexico – Rodrigo Negrete

6. WIEGO Research on Informal Employment: Key Methods, Variables and Findings – Martha Chen

PART 3 – ECONOMICS AND THE INFORMAL ECONOMY

7. Assessing Taxation and Informality: Disaggregated Frameworks Matter – Ravi Kanbur

8. Informality and the Dynamics of the Structure of Employment – James Heintz

9. Old and New Forms of Informal Employment – Uma Rani

10. Tax and the Informal Economy: Lessons from South Africa – Imraan Valodia and David Francis

11. (Re)conceptualizing Poverty and Informal Employment – Michael Rogan and Paul Cichello

PART 4 – LABOUR LAW AND THE INFORMAL ECONOMY

12. Revising Labour Law for Work – Judy Fudge

13. Domestic Workers and Informality: Challenging Invisibility, Regulating Inclusion – Adelle Blackett

14. Enforcement of Labour Standards in Developing Countries: Challenges and Solutions – Michael J. Piore

PART 5 - URBAN PLANNING AND DESIGN: INCLUDING INFORMAL LIVELIHOODS

15. The Informal Economy in Urban Africa: Challenging Planning Theory and Praxis – Caroline Skinner and Vanessa Watson

16. Urban Design: Imaginations beyond Architecture – Rahul Mehrotra

17. Informality, Housing and Work: The View from Indian Cities – Gautam Bhan

PART 6 – HOMEWORKERS: EXTENDING LABOUR RIGHTS IN GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAINS

18. Regulating Corporations in Global Value Chains to Realize Labour Rights for Homeworkers – Marlese von Broembsen

19. Extending Labour Standards to Informal Workers at the Base of Global Garment Value Chains: New Institutions in the Labour Market – Meenu Tewari

PART 7 - STREET VENDORS: POLITICS AND POSSIBILITIES FOR INCLUSION

20. Street Vendors and Planning Paradigms – Amin Y. Kamete

21. Street Vending and the State: Challenging Theory, Changing Research – Veronica Crossa

22. Street Vendors and Regulations – Sally Roever

PART 8 - WASTE PICKERS: INTEGRATION AND RIGHTS IN PUBLIC WASTE MANAGEMENT

23. Waste Pickers and Their Right to the City: Dispossession and Displacement in 19th Century Paris and Contemporary Montevideo – Lucía Fernandez

24. Managing Urban Waste as a Common Pool Resource – Jérémie Cavé

25. The Political Work of Waste Picker Integration – Melanie Samson

PART 9 – SOCIAL POLICY AND INFORMAL WORKERS

26. The Place of Informal Workers in Different Approaches to Social Protection – Francie Lund

27. Social Protection and Informal Workers: Rethinking the Terms of Inclusion – Laura Alfers

28. Social Protection for Women Informal Workers: Perspectives from Latin America – Silke Staab

29. Informal Workers in a Context of Urbanisation and Migration: Reflections from China for Social Policy in Asia – Sarah Cook

30. Realising Employer Liability for Workers in Informal Employment: Lessons from India – Kamala Sankaran

PART 10 – INFORMAL WORKERS AND THE STATE

31. Deciphering African Informal Economies – Kate Meagher

32. Informal Workers and the State in India – Rina Agarwala

33. Informal Domestic Workers, Informal Construction Workers and the State: What Prospects for Improving Labour Standards? – Chris Tilly

34. Waste and Citizenship Forum: Waste Pickers and the State in Brazil – Sonia Dias

CONCLUSION – Martha Chen, Françoise Carré and Sally Roever

Bibliography

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Editor(s)

Biography

Martha Chen is a Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School, USA, and Co-Founder, Emeritus International Coordinator and Senior Advisor of WIEGO.

Françoise Carré is Research Director, Center for Social Policy, University of Massachusetts Boston, McCormack Graduate School, Boston, USA, and Director, WIEGO Statistics Programme.

Reviews

"There is simply no better source for anyone interested in any aspect of the informal economy. Edited by two of the most eminent scholars in the field, this book brings together the best of thoughtful and cutting edge research and analysis of informality from different disciplinary perspectives. The concluding call for a paradigm shift in research towards more empirically grounded, granular, transdisciplinary, mixed method approaches that isolate structural tendencies while hearing the voices of the workers themselves, is the more compelling because this volume provides such a good example."— Jayati Ghosh,  Professor of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

"For far too long, workers in the informal economy have been ignored, undercounted, and underappreciated.  Yet in many countries, most of the economic activity occurs outside of the formal economy, and informal workers produce essential goods and services -- from people doing piecework at the beginning of the garment supply chain, to vendors of street food, to urban recyclers, to nannies and housekeepers.  This volume offers new ways to conceptualize informality, making visible the many dimensions of the informal economy while drawing on perspectives from across the social sectors.  It is essential reading for anyone interested in global development, labor economics, or women's economic empowerment, and helps us progress toward the goal of dignified work for all."—Ruth Levine, CEO, IDInsight

"The informal economy continues to be a highly persistent and ubiquitous phenomenon in several developing countries in spite of rapid economic development in many parts of the Global South.  The global network Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) has played a leading role over two decades in scholarship, policy analysis and advocacy in improving the livelihoods of workers in the informal economy. In this important book, edited by Martha Chen and Françoise Carré, WIEGO has brought together leading scholars from across the social sciences to contribute to a rich understanding of the informal economy from different disciplinary perspectives. At a critical juncture in the world economy, when many informal livelihoods are being lost to the pandemic, the book will be compelling reading to academics, policy makers and practitioners."— Kunal Sen, Director, UNU-WIDER and Professor of Development Economics, University of Manchester, UK

"This comprehensive and up-to-date book, with contributions from a wide range of disciplines, is essential reading for everyone interested in work, employment and development. It demonstrates that it is not through the wage that most workers in the world relate to capital and to the state, but through a variety of forms of self-employment, own account work, and work as contributing family members. It covers innovations, such as the new status category in labour statistics of ‘dependent contractor’, which captures more accurately the situation of the majority of outworkers, home-based workers, and ‘gig’ workers. It debunks myths, such as that the informal economy does not pay tax. It argues that bypassing rules and regulations is not unique to the informal economy but is also characteristic of businesses in the formal economy. It shows that informal workers can make gains through organising and that social protection and labour standards can be designed in ways appropriate for securing justice for informal workers. It sets out a compelling case for a paradigm shift in how the informal economy is understood, and for ‘decolonising’ policies and laws for the informal economy." – Diane Elson, Emeritus Professor, University of Essex, UK. Member of UN Committee for Development Policy.

"A masterful overview of how research on and policies for the informal economy have evolved over the last fifty years. Drawing on multi-disciplinary approaches and providing multi country evidence this book documents comprehensively as well as critically a cautiously hopeful view of the struggle for recognition and appreciation of informal economies in development policies. A must read for both scholars and practitioners who want to envision an alternative approach to mainstream thinking regarding how to improve the quality of life of the vast majority of the labour force in an increasingly unpredictable world." – Bish Sanyal, Ford International Professor of Urban Development & Planning and Director, Spurs/Humphrey program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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