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Women’s Participation to Self-employment and Informal Sector


  • Isiaka E. Esema

    (International Community Education Association)


Using comparable micro-level data from three countries, we ask what type of person works in the informal sector and whether informal workers earn lower wages than observationally equivalent workers in the formal sector. The characteristics of informal workers are similar across countries. Surprisingly, when we control for these personal characteristics, we find a significant wage premium associated with formal employment. A model of endogenous selection offers little help in explaining the differences in wage patterns. The research casts doubt on the received wisdom that the informal sector, always and everywhere, is a poorly-paid but easily-entered refuge for those who have no other employment opportunities.

Suggested Citation

  • Isiaka E. Esema, 2011. "Women’s Participation to Self-employment and Informal Sector," Journal of Women's Entrepreneurship and Education, Institute of Economic Sciences, issue 1-2, pages 108-116.
  • Handle: RePEc:ibg:jwejou:y:2011:i:1-2:p:108-116

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    More about this item


    Women; Informal workers; self-employment; labour market;

    JEL classification:

    • B54 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Feminist Economics
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure


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