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

This 34-chapter open-access book brings together leading scholars to investigate recent conceptual shifts, research findings and policy debates on the informal economy. 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 stigmatized. 

Contributors bridge a range of disciplinary perspectives including anthropology, development economics, law, political science, sociology, statistics, and urban planning and design. The Informal Economy Revisited, which is the culmination of 20 years of pioneering work by WIEGO, also focuses on specific groups of informal workers 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.