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Is Informal Normal?

Towards More and Better Jobs in Developing Countries

Edited by Johannes P. Jutting and Juan R. de Laiglesia

Shoeshine workers in Cairo, street vendors in Calcutta, poorly paid public officials driving their taxis at night in the streets of Moscow. These are all examples of informal employment: jobs or activities in the production and marketing of legal goods and services that are not regulated or protected by the state. Over half the nonagricultural jobs in developing and emerging economies fall into this category.

The informal employment sector deprives states of revenues and workers of social protection. However, it also frequently constitutes the most dynamic part of the economy and creates massive employment. Informal employment is ubiquitous and growing. 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 analysis and recommendations for policymakers in developing and developed nations on this crucial issue.

“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

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