Poverty and Informal Economies

Abstract : Informal economic activity is a significant part of world production and distribution. This chapter reviews different core definitions (informal economic activities versus informal sector), different historical instances of "the" informal economy (in the Third World, under Communism and in contemporary Western cities), and different theoretical approaches (the dualist or development perspective, the legalist or neoliberal perspective, the structuralist or neomarxist perspective). We explore the different types mediation, dispute resolution and regulation that emerge out of informal economic transactions. We then focus more specifically on the informal economy in the everyday life of the poor, and argue that informal economic activities reward specific skills which are not valued on the formal labor market. We address methodological challenges to studying the informal economy in the conclusion.
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François Bonnet, Sudhir Venkatesh. Poverty and Informal Economies. David Brady; Linda M. Burton. Oxford Handbook of the Social Science of Poverty, Oxford University Press, pp.637-659, 2016, 9780199914050. ⟨halshs-01297260⟩

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