Special Initiatives: Research

WIEGO 20th Anniversary Research Conference

In its first 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 the USA in November 2018. Learn more about the Conference. | Read the presentations.

World Development Report 2013 on Jobs

For the World Development Report (WDR) 2013, which focused on “jobs”, WIEGO produced five cases studies and a synthesis report on representative voice and economic rights of informal workers. WIEGO’s International Coordinator, Marty Chen, was asked to conduct a peer review of the draft WDR 2013 and to take part in a panel discussion about the report.

Informal Economy Monitoring Study (IEMS)

In 2012, WIEGO led a 10-city study that examined how informal livelihoods are changing, how informal workers respond, and what institutions help or hinder their lives. Learn more about IEMS.

Agenda-Setting Research Conference

In March 2011, 60 researchers from 17 countries came together in Cape Town, South Africa to develop an agenda of research on the informal economy/informal employment that would build on, broaden and deepen existing research. They identified research questions that could expand research on informal employment to new topic areas and to more regions of the world. 

Speaker at Agenda-Setting Research Conference on the Informal EconomyThe conference, organized by WIEGO, was a response to the resurgence of interest in the informal economy as it continues to grow and to appear in new guises around the world. More institutions and individuals have begun to ask questions regarding the definition, composition, and causal explanation of the informal economy.

The WIEGO Network felt the time was ripe for collective thinking by a select group of established scholars from different disciplines, and with different perspectives on informality, to identify key questions, gaps, and puzzles regarding the informal economy for future research to address. 

participants WIEGO conference
To anchor this conference, WIEGO decided to focus on three countries: India, Mexico, and South Africa. WIEGO has worked closely in these countries with the producers of official statistics to improve labour force and other economic statistics; with data analysts and other researchers to analyze the official data; and with member-based organizations of informal workers to use the data and research findings in their advocacy efforts. 

Read the Conference Report, which contains a summary of the presentations and links.