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Labour Standards Application In The Informal Economy Of Ghana: The Patterns And Pressures


  • Angela Akorsu


In spite of the rapid growth and importance of informal employment in Ghana, few studies have investigated the extent of coverage of labour standards application, as a form of labour market regulation. This paper investigates the extent of labour standards application in shaping the employment relations and conditions within the informal economy. The study focuses on 30 manufacturing firms in Ghana’s informal economy. Data were obtained through interviews with 43 entrepreneurs and their workers, as well as with key informants from the social partners of industrial relations. The study shows that labour standards are generally not applied among informal economy operators due to factors such as a lack of coverage of the existing labour legislation, ineffective enforcement, ignorance, peculiarities of work organisation, and the dynamics of the apprenticeship system. It is therefore concluded that informal economy workers, who constitute the majority of the workforce in Ghana, lack social protection and must be targeted for intervention.

Suggested Citation

  • Angela Akorsu, 2013. "Labour Standards Application In The Informal Economy Of Ghana: The Patterns And Pressures," Economic Annals, Faculty of Economics, University of Belgrade, vol. 58(196), pages 157-176, January –.
  • Handle: RePEc:beo:journl:v:58:y:2013:i:196:p:157-176

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Vivek Dehejia & Yiagadeesen Samy, 2004. "Trade and labour standards: theory and new empirical evidence," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(2), pages 179-198.
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    More about this item


    Labour standards; working conditions; workers’ rights; informal economy; manufacturing; apprenticeship; Ghana;

    JEL classification:

    • J80 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - General
    • J81 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Working Conditions
    • J83 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Workers' Rights


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