Coping with Crises: Lingering Recession, Rising Inflation, and the Informal Workforce

Zoe Elena Horn
  • Publisher: WIEGO and Inclusive Cities

Coping with CrisesIn 2009, researchers in 14 urban locales in 10 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America conducted individual and focus group interviews to investigate the impact of the economic crisis on workers in three segments of the informal economy: home-based work, street trade and waste collection. The research found there were significant negative effects, including declining demand, increased competition within the groups studied, as well as limited access to emergency or recovery measures for participants. The study concluded that the informal economy should not be viewed simply as a “cushion” for retrenched formal workers during crises, but that impacts of global economic trends and events since the beginning of the crisis on the informal workers and enterprises also need to be understood and addressed.


In 2010, researchers conducted a second round of research in 13 locales in nine countries with mainly (though not exclusively) the same sample, in order to assess whether there were signs of recovery for participating workers.


Report available in English here.

Relatório disponível em português aqui.

Informe disponible en español aquí.


Fact Sheet available in English here.
Ficha Técnica disponível em Português aqui.
Ficha Técnica disponible en español aquí.

Executive Summary available in English here.
Sumário Executivo disponível em Português aqui.
Resumen Ejecutivo disponible en español aquí.

Informal Economy Topic
Publication Type