What is it about?

This paper evaluates critically the conventional hierarchical representation of the formal/informal employment dualism, which depicts formal employment as extensive and positively contributing to economic development and social cohesion, and the separate realm of informal employment as weaker, inhabiting the margins and impairing progress and development. Although the discourses of informal employment as weak, marginal and separate from formal employment have been previously put under the spotlight, there has been little questioning of whether informal employment is a negative phenomenon.

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Why is it important?

Through a study of Ukraine, however, this paper finds evidence that informal employment positively contributes to not only economic development as a seedbed for enterprise and entrepreneurship but also social cohesion as a primary vehicle for delivering community self-help. The outcome is a call for a finer-grained understanding of informal (and ultimately also formal) employment that recognises its plurality of forms and their varying consequences for economic development and social cohesion.


Contests the entirely negative depiction of the informal sector

Professor Colin C Williams
University of Sheffield

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This page is a summary of: BEYOND HIERARCHICAL REPRESENTATIONS OF THE FORMAL/INFORMAL EMPLOYMENT DUALISM, European Societies, February 2009, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/14616690801961819.
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