Article

Beyond Negative Depictions of Informal Employment: Some Lessons from Moscow

Urban Studies (Impact Factor: 1.28). 11/2007; 44(12):2321-2338. DOI: 10.1080/00420980701540945

ABSTRACT Informal employment is conventionally viewed as residual, marginal and sweatshop-like work that impairs urban economic development and social cohesion. Reporting data from 313 interviews conducted with Moscow households during 2005/06, this negative reading is found to apply to just one segment of the informal labour market in this post-socialist city— namely, informal waged employment. Examining the multiple types of informal employment conducted on an own-account basis, more positive impacts emerge of this sphere as the key seedbed for enterprise development and principal mechanism for delivering community self-help. The outcome is a call for a finer-grained understanding and more nuanced policy approach towards informal employment that recognises its plurality of forms and their varying consequences for economic development and social cohesion.

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