Is Informal Normal ?

Towards More and Better Jobs in Developing Countries

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The informal sector deprives states of revenues and workers of social protection. It also, however, frequently constitutes the most dynamic part of the economy and creates massive employment. Informal employment is ubiquitous and growing. The financial crisis that began in 2008 has made the management of informal employment even more challenging.  Responding to this emerging challenge is critical, not only for the well being of millions of workers but also for social development. Is Informal Normal? provides evidence for policy makers on how to deal with this issue of crucial importance for developing and developed countries alike. This book includes StatLinks, URLs linking charts and graphs to Excel files containing the data.

“In countries such as China, the exceptional scale of rural to urban migration amplifies the challenges from informality. This work provides valuable analytical results for understanding this major transformation, its problems and impacts.”

                       -Professor Li Shi, Beijing Normal University

“This volume is an important contribution to the current policy debates on the informal economy. It recommends providing support to the working poor in the informal economy, making formal structures more efficient and flexible and creating more formal jobs.”

                      -Professor Marty Chen, Harvard Kennedy School and WIEGO

“The strengths of this volume are many: evidence that “Informal Is Normal;” references to many newer studies and ways of thinking; the consistent three-pronged strategy; accessibility. Is Informal Normal? will serve as a reference in the literature on informality for years to come.”

                      -Professor Gary Fields, Cornell University

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Employment, Poverty Reduction and Development

What's New?

OECD Development Centre

The main aim of this volume is to initiate a policy dialogue on how to deal with this phenomenon. It makes three main contributions to the policy debate. First, it presents comparable data on the evolution of informal employment and its most significant components for a wide array of countries and over time. Second, it discusses what determines informal employment, its persistence over time, and its gender dimension. It also considers the strategies of individual workers in seeking to increase their earnings within informal employment and across the divide between informal and formal employment. Third, it argues for a three-pronged strategy better to deal with informal employment and its consequences.

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