Linking the Formal and Informal Economy
Concepts and Policies
The concepts of formal and informal remain central to the theory and practice of development more than half a century after they were introduced into the debate. They help structure the way that statistical services collect data on the economies of developing countries, the development of theoretical and empirical analysis, and, most important, the formulation and implementation of policy. This volume brings together a significant new collection of studies on formality and informality in developing countries. The volume is multidisciplinary in nature, with contributions from anthropologists, economists, sociologists, and political scientists. It contains contributions from among the very best analysts in development studies. Between them the chapters argue for moving beyond the formal-informal dichotomy. Useful as it has proven to be, a more nuanced approach is needed in light of conceptual and empirical advances, and in light of the policy failures brought about by a characterization of the 'informal' as 'disorganized'. The wealth of empirical information in these studies, and in the literature more widely, can be used to develop guiding principles for intervention that are based on ground level reality.
Table of contents
'No matter how you divide up the developing world - 'formal-informal', 'legal-extralegal' (my preference) - one thing is not debatable: most people are poor, on the outside of the system looking in, and getting angrier every day. The message of this book is it's time to stop talking and start designing reforms based on the informal practices and organizations that poor entrepreneurs already use. I second that motion. If you rebuild the system from the bottom-up, they will come, with their enterprise, creativity, and piles of potential capital.' - Hernando de Soto, President, Institute for Liberty and Democracy, Peru