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Linking the Formal and Informal Economy: Concepts and Policies


  • Guha-Khasnobis, Basudeb

  • Kanbur, Ravi
    (Cornell University)

  • Ostrom, The late Elinor
    (Indiana University)


The concepts of formal and informal remain central to the theory and practice of development more than half a century after they were introduced into the debate. They help structure the way that statistical services collect data on the economies of developing countries, the development of theoretical and empirical analysis, and, most important, the formulation and implementation of policy. This volume brings together a significant new collection of studies on formality and informality in developing countries. The volume is multidisciplinary in nature, with contributions from anthropologists, economists, sociologists, and political scientists. It contains contributions from among the very best analysts in development studies. Between them the chapters argue for moving beyond the formal-informal dichotomy. Useful as it has proven to be, a more nuanced approach is needed in light of conceptual and empirical advances, and in light of the policy failures brought about by a characterization of the 'informal' as 'disorganized'. The wealth of empirical information in these studies, and in the literature more widely, can be used to develop guiding principles for intervention that are based on ground level reality. Contributors to this volume - Rajeev Ahuja, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations Krister Andersson, Indiana University Martha Alter Chen, Harvard University Robert K. Christensen, Indiana University Basudeb Guha-Khasnobis, UNU-WIDER Keith Hart, Goldsmiths College, University of London Ravi Kanbur, Cornell University Robert Lensink, University of Groningen Norman V. Loayza, The World Bank Mark McGillivray, UNU-WIDER M. R. Narayana, Institute for Social and Economic Change Jeffrey B. Nugent, University of Southern California Elinor Ostrom, Indiana University Ana Maria Oviedo, University of Maryland Diego Pacheco, Indiana University Sally Roever, University of California, Berkeley Amos Sawyer, Indiana University Luis Serven, The World Bank Alice Sindzingre, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris Fredrik Soderbaum, Goteborg University Shailender Swaminathan, University of Alabama Pham Thi Thu Tra Pham, University of Groningen Liz Alden Wily, Independent Land Tenure and National Resources Management Adviser

Suggested Citation

  • Guha-Khasnobis, Basudeb & Kanbur, Ravi & Ostrom, The late Elinor (ed.), 2007. "Linking the Formal and Informal Economy: Concepts and Policies," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199237296.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxp:obooks:9780199237296

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    Cited by:

    1. Floridi, A. & Wagner, N. & Cameron, J., 2016. "A study of Egyptian and Palestine trans-formal firms – A neglected category operating in the borderland between formality and informality," ISS Working Papers - General Series 619, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
    2. Iván Darío Hernández & Oscar Sánchez, 2014. "Innovación social abierta en el diseño de una política y estrategia de formalización sostenible: un caso colombiano de gobierno colaborativo," REVISTA FACULTAD DE CIENCIAS ECONÓMICAS, UNIVERSIDAD MILITAR NUEVA GRANADA, vol. 0(2), pages 47-61, December.

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