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Theme: Informal Economy
Program(s): Urban Policies
Occupational Group(s): Home-Based Workers

Informal Economy Monitoring Study, Home-Based Workers

Cambridge, MA USA

New research highlights the important economic contribution of home-based workers, challenges the common assumption that home-based work is not linked to the formal economy, and shows how home-based workers, who represent a significant share of the workforce in many countries, are affected by macroeconomic trends, government practices, and semi-dependent employment relationships.

The study makes the case that policymakers should recognize that the earnings of home-based workers are essential to daily cash flow – and the ongoing struggle to ward off extreme poverty – of their households. And it makes a number of policy recommendations to address the needs and constraints of home-based workers.
The findings are from the Informal Economy Monitoring Study (IEMS), which examines working conditions in the informal economy for home-based workers, street vendors and waste pickers in ten cities in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Read the full press release.
View IEMS reports.

Research unveiled at World Urban Forum challenges myths about the informal economy, and shows that urban informal workers play vital roles in the urban economy and help keep their households out of extreme poverty. The findings also indicate that city policies and practices tend to undermine informal livelihoods.

The researchers conclude that informal workers, who make up the majority of the urban workforce in most regions, could make greater contributions if local policies and practices supported, rather than hindered, their work.
The findings are from the Informal Economy Monitoring Study (IEMS), which examined the realities faced by informal workers in 10 cities of Africa, Asia and Latin America. IEMS is a collaboration between Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO), which led the study, and WIEGO's partners in the Inclusive Cities project.

United States Policy Matters: The Informal Economy Harvard Kennedy School News . (17 May 2012)
By Megias, Mari.

On a tour of a slum settlement in Ahmedabad City, India, Martha “Marty” Chen paused when she noticed a woman hunched over a neat row of little pill bottles.