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Informal Economy & WIEGO

WIEGO and WIEGO-Related Publications on Statistics

The following recent WIEGO and WIEGO-related publications provide data on informal employment and employment in the informal sector, as well as information on measurement methods relating to these concepts.

Gender Differences in the Structure of Employment

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has developed this set of indicators for monitoring progress of the Millenium Goal 3 on gender equality and the empowerment of women.






Share in total employment (both sexes = 100.0 %)

Transport Workers: Data Constraints & Gaps

Transportation worker, Philippines

There are limited reliable and up-to-date data on livelihoods of workers in the informal transport sector. The three available major sources are:

Labour Law and Informal Workers: The WIEGO Perspective

Historically, around the world, the “employment relationship” has represented the cornerstone – the central legal concept – around which labour law and collective bargaining agreements have sought to recognize and protect the rights of workers.

Support to Informal Workers During & After Economic Crises

During economic crises, the poor are seen as targets for social assistance or social safety nets. However, the working poor, especially those engaged in the informal economy, are not recognized as legitimate targets for economic rescue or recovery efforts because it is widely believed that the informal economy provides a “cushion” to those who lose their jobs in the formal economy. Therefore, it is assumed informal workers must be doing all right.

Hierarchies of Earnings & Poverty Risk

The statistical evidence summarized in the “Links with Poverty” section suggests a hierarchy of earnings and poverty risk across the various segments of the labour force, as illustrated in Figures 1-3 below. While average earnings are higher in formal employment than in informal, there is also a hierarchy of earnings within the informal economy. Employers have the highest average earnings, followed by their employees and other “regular” informal employees, then own account workers, followed by casual wage workers and domestic workers, and finally industrial outworkers.

Decent Work For Domestic Workers: ILC 2009

Representatives of domestic workers’ organizations from around the world participated in the June 2009 International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva to prepare themselves for the negotiations on an international instrument for domestic workers in 2010 and 2011. This web page reports on the decisions and activities taken there.

Policies & Programmes for Household Enterprises in Africa

In 2008, the World Bank Africa Region launched a three-year cross-country study on Improving the Productivity and Reducing Risk of Household Enterprises. One objective of this study was to highlight the scale and persistence of self-employment and economic activities based in the household rather than “firms,” even in economies with strong growth both overall and in wage employment (which remains too small to absorb a substantial share of new entrants in most developing countries).