What is it about?

This paper re-evaluates the explanations for informal work in third world cities. Until now, informal work has been theorized either as a residue (modernisation), by-product of contemporary capitalism conducted out of economic necessity (structuralism) or an alternative to formal work chosen due to either an over-burdensome state (neo-liberalism) or for social, redistributive, resistance or identity reasons (post-structuralism).

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Why is it important?

Reporting a study of 80 households in Koforidua in Ghana, this paper finds that although its depiction as a residue is not valid, the other representations of the informal economy are each valid in relation to different types of informal work and varying populations in this third world city, and that only by combining them will a finer-grained and more comprehensive understanding of the diverse nature of the informal economy be achieved. The outcome is a call for more nuanced explanations of the informal economy in other contexts.


This paper evaluates the competing explanations for the existence of the informal economy in third world cities

Professor Colin C Williams
University of Sheffield

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This page is a summary of: Evaluating the explanations for the informal economy in third world cities: some evidence from Koforidua in the eastern region of Ghana, International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, August 2012, Springer Science + Business Media, DOI: 10.1007/s11365-012-0224-5.
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