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Informal Economy & WIEGO

Public Space for All

Public space is a public good - for all city residents to access and enjoy, whether it is for leisure, transportation or earning a livelihood. However, competing uses of public space cause conflict, and often it is the most vulnerable users, informal workers, who are excluded. WIEGO believes struggles over public space should not be a zero sum game - rather, regulated public spaces offer possibilities for diverse uses to co-exist, ultimately making cities more vibrant and inclusive.

Poverty & Growth Linkages

The relationship between informality, poverty, and growth are complex. This section of the website explores what is known about these relationships.

  Veronica Boakye trading at Kwame Nkrumah Circle Market in Accra, Ghana

Major Occupational Groups of Informal Workers

Informal Workers and the Work They Do

Street vendors in Mexico City, rickshaw pullers in Calcutta, jeepney drivers in Manila, push-cart vendors in New York city,  garbage collectors in Bogotá, roadside barbers in Durban ... Those who work outside in the open are the more visible occupational groups in the informal  economy. The streets of cities, towns, and villages in most developing countries – and in many developed countries – are busy. Street and market vendors can be found everywhere selling goods of every conceivable kind.

Typology of Domestic Workers

This material is drawn from Chen, Martha A. 2011. “Recognizing Domestic Workers, Regulating Domestic Work: Conceptual, Measurement, and Regulatory Challenges.” Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, Vol. 23, No. 1, pp 167-184.

Links with Poverty

Not all informal workers are poor and not all working poor are engaged in the informal economy. Some informal operators – especially those who hire others – are not poor, while some formal wage workers are poor. But there is a significant overlap between working in the informal economy and being poor. This section details what is known about the relationship between working in the informal economy and being poor.

Key Debates about Street Vending

Lima peru street vendors

Street vending generates debates around the world. The key debates are summarized here.

Statistics on the Informal Economy

Statistics on the Informal Economy

Analysis of informal employment and informal workers is a new area of statistical development. This section of the website examines the available data, as well as the concepts, definitions and methods that underpin this growing area of investigation.

Bulletin d'information du Programme Droit Édition octobre 2018

Bulletin d'information du Programme Droit

Édition octobre 2018


Informal Worker

WIEGO 20th Anniversary Research Conference

WIEGO Research Conference

Over the past two decades, WIEGO has been at the forefront of developing new concepts and methods for understanding and measuring the informal economy. To mark WIEGO’s 20th Anniversary, and to identify new paths for research and thinking on the informal economy, the WIEGO Network held a research conference at Harvard University in November 2017.