What is it about?

recent study reveals that 61.2% of the global workforce aged 15 and over are in the informal economy, and that 47.2% of all employment in the service industries (ILO, 2018). Despite this, there has been very little written on service industries and the informal economy. Instead, the vast bulk of literature on service industries has focused upon the formal economy.

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Why is it important?

To ignore this large segment of the totality of services and workers operating in the informal economy is a misnomer. To do so is to disregard nearly half of the workforce employed in the service industries globally. Reflecting the long tradition of this journal in pursuing innovative and cutting-edge research that drives the research agenda on service industries, the Service Industries Journal has commissioned a special issue on the theme of ‘Service Industries and the Informal Economy’. The aim of this editorial introduction is to provide a brief synopsis of the articles published which evaluate not only the extent and character of participation in the informal economy in the service industries but also the factors significantly associated with informality in the service industries as well as the challenges posed by the existence of such endeavour. Reflecting the studies in this special issue, this editorial gives special emphasis to the critical role of individual characteristics, country contexts, institutions, and demand- as well as supply-side issues required to achieve a better understanding of informality in the service industries across the globe.


Summarises the articles in this special issue of the Service Industries journal on service industries and the informal economy.

Professor Colin C Williams
University of Sheffield

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This page is a summary of: Services industries and the informal economy: an introduction, Service Industries Journal, July 2018, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/02642069.2018.1486959.
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