IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Informality as Normality: On the Articulation of Shadow Economy and Society in Africa

Listed author(s):
  • Kohnert, Dirk

There exists a longstanding discussion of the role of the informal economy in the development process of Third World countries, notably in Africa. Much of the controversy was concerned with the question whether the informal sector promotes development or should rather be considered as a barrier to modernization. There is a remarkable shift of attention, away from artificial restriction on “pure economics” towards the social and political linkages of the informal and formal economy in recent years. However, there are still many open questions. First, is the heavy reliance of both neo-liberal economists and the donor community on quantitative economic analysis of GDP, growth and markets justified in the African context, even in view of the weak data available, that disregard most of the informal sector? Second, is the underlying assumption of a gradual substitution of informal by formal African institutions and economies in the process of urbanization and globalization viable? Third, are actors in the informal sector really belonging mostly to the disadvantaged social strata? Fourth, could we reasonably expect that the informal sector works predominantly in the interest of the poor? The answer to neither of these questions is an unequivocal 'yes'.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: original version
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 980.

in new window

Date of creation: 21 Nov 2000
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:980
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Ludwigstraße 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany

Phone: +49-(0)89-2180-2459
Fax: +49-(0)89-2180-992459
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:980. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joachim Winter)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.