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The Informal Economy in Comparative Perspective: Theory, Policy and Reality

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Cet article propose les concepts de Rapport Occupationnel (RO) et de Chaînes de Mobilité Territoriale (CMT) pour rendre compte de la diversité des modalités de mobilisation de la population ainsi que de la contribution de cette dernière au développement d’une région émergente au Vietnam. Le RO intègre diverses modalités institutionnelles et relationnelles d’encastrement du travail. Il dévoile également des fortes aspirations à l’auto-emploi et à l’entreprenariat. Les CMT montrent comment ces modalités de mobilisation se succèdent dans le temps et s’insèrent dans la région et au- delà, pour générer de nouveaux emplois, de nouvelles entreprises et activités interconnectées à Kiên Giang. Dans des régions émergentes, le processus de développement est donc très loin de se limiter à la formalisation de l'emploi des entreprises internationales.
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Following the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, the labour rights violations in global supply chains, and indeed the governance of global supply chains, has become a pressing global issue. This paper evaluates key existing global and national supply chain governance mechanisms from the perspective of the most vulnerable workers in supply chains—informal homeworkers.
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This paper aims to establish and explore the links between two threads in the public finance literature. One is the use of tax thresholds to partition taxpayers into those who are liable to pay tax and those who are not. The other is the notion of ‘informality’ as a central challenge for tax design and implementation. Several insights emerge. First, the results make clear that the term ‘informal’ as used in the literature is imprecise and can consequently be very misleading: the models reveal a range of compliant and non-compliant behaviors with very different welfare and revenue implications. Second, the various forms of behavior considered suggest optimal thresholds generally higher than would otherwise be the case, with quite complicated implications for the associated patterns of (non)-compliance. Third, when (as is realistic) firms and individuals face multiple tax and non-tax obligations, the setting of optimal thresholds is considerably more complex.
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Millions of people worldwide make a living selling goods on the streets. This article traces the ebbs and flows of exclusion and inclusion of street traders from Durban's public spaces from the 1920s to the present. It shows that over time the city has, variously, expelled traders, allowed unmanaged trading and actively incorporated traders into urban plans. It suggests that there is an ongoing struggle for access to the streets, and draws attention to the role of the national and local state, as well as local political struggles. The history of street trading in Durban provides useful material for understanding marginality and informing policy.
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The social and economic impact of COVID-19 has been deep, wide-ranging, and multidimensional. While anecdotal evidence of distress among the poor, particularly those with informal occupations, has been widespread, effective policy response has required real-time, researched data disaggregated for urban and rural populations and for various categories of the poor. The Power and Participation Research Centre and BRAC Institute of Governance and Development’s four-round panel survey during 2020–21 provides unique insights into how COVID-19 impacted specific categories of the poor and vulnerable in Bangladesh, their coping strategies, and the extent to which policy support materialized. While the poor as a whole demonstrated their agency in the face of the crisis, their resilience has been as much about deepening vulnerability as about recovery, representing an unfair burden of distress resilience. Informal workers, women, and the urban poor have been disproportionately impacted.
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A stylized prediction of the development economics discourse is that informality will disappear with development, and yet in the last 20 years conventional measures of informality, far from declining, have either remained stagnant or have actually increased. This includes countries such as India where economic growth has been at historically high levels. What exactly is informality and what are its magnitudes and trends? What are the causes of informality and why is it not decreasing as predicted by standard theories of development? What are the consequences for inclusive economic growth of a large and increasing informal sector? What are feasible and desirable policy responses to informality? These are the questions that motivate this broad based overview of informality. The questions will be addressed based on recent and ongoing research on India and globally.
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Many of the significant urban transformations of the new century are taking place in the developing world. In particular, informality, once associated with poor squatter settlements, is now seen as a generalized mode of metropolitan urbanization. This article focuses on urban informality to highlight the challenges of dealing with the "unplannable" - exceptions to the order of formal urbanization. It argues that planners Must learn to work with this state of exception Such policy epistemologies are useful not only for "Third World" cities but also more generally for urban planning concerned with distributive justice.
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Recent work on entrepreneurial urban governance has focused on the new forms of exclusion produced by neoliberal entrepreneurial urban strategies, arguing that local forms of social–spatial organization are being dismantled through practices ranging from the privatization of urban public space to the emergence of gated communities. By exploring the role of agency amid these changing structures of constraints, this article interrogates processes of socio‐spatial exclusion under entrepreneurial forms of urban governance. I argue that despite constraints placed upon different groups of affected citizens, excluded groups develop survival strategies that enable them to maintain a livelihood and in some cases empower them to thrive. I use the case of a recently implemented entrepreneurial policy in Mexico City called the Programa de Rescate (The Rescue Program). The prime objective of the policy is to revitalize and beautify the streets, buildings and central plaza of the city's Historic Center. Although this policy seeks an improvement in the quality of life for the local population, it excludes particular forms of social interaction that are central to the well‐being of a large sector of the population, particularly street vendors who rely on public spaces for their daily survival. I use the case of the Programa to show how street vendors have struggled to remain on the streets of Mexico City's Historic Center. Résumé Les travaux récents sur la gouvernance urbaine de type entrepreneurial s'intéressent surtout aux nouvelles formes d'exclusion que génèrent les stratégies urbaines néolibérales. Ils affirment que des formes locales d'organisation socio‐spatiale se désagrègent à cause de pratiques allant de la privatisation de l'espace public urbain à l'apparition de communautés privées sécurisées. En s'attachant au rôle de l'agence dans ces structures de contraintes évolutives, cet article examine les processus d'exclusion socio‐spatiale en cas de formes entrepreneuriales de gouvernance urbaine. Malgré les contraintes imposées aux différents groupes de citoyens concernés, les groupes exclus élaborent des stratégies de survie grâce auxquelles ils préservent leurs moyens de subsistance et se trouvent en mesure, dans certains cas, de prospérer. L'article prend le cas d'une politique publique de type entrepreneurial appliquée depuis peu à Mexico: Programa de Rescate (programme de sauvetage). En l'occurrence, il s'agit principalement de revitaliser et d'embellir les rues, les bâtiments et la place centrale du centre historique de la ville. Même si cette politique vise à améliorer la qualité de vie de la population locale, elle exclut certaines formes d'interaction sociale essentielles au bien‐être d'une grande part de la population, notamment des vendeurs ambulants dont la survie au quotidien dépend des espaces publics. Le cas du Programa permet de montrer comment ces vendeurs ont lutté pour rester dans les rues du centre historique de Mexico.
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We experimentally investigate social effects in a principal-agent setting with incomplete contracts. The strategic interaction scheme is based on the well-known Investment Game (Berg et al., 1995). In our setting four agents (i.e., trustees) and one principal (i.e., trustor) are interacting and the access to choices of peers in the group of trustees is experimentally manipulated. Overall, subjects are positively influenced by peer's choices they observe. However, the positive interaction between choices is not strong enough to raise the reciprocity of those observing at the same level of those whose choices are observed.
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