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Informal work in sub-Saharan Africa: Dead end or steppingstone?

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  • Michael Danquah
  • Simone Schotte
  • Kunal Sen

Abstract

Despite rapid economic growth in recent decades, informality remains a persistent phenomenon in the labour markets of many low- and middle-income countries. A key issue in this regard concerns the extent to which informality itself is a persistent state. Using panel data from Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda, this paper presents one of the very few analyses providing evidence on this question in the context of sub-Saharan Africa. Our results reveal an important extent of heterogeneity in the transition patterns observed for workers in upper-tier versus lower-tier informality.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Danquah & Simone Schotte & Kunal Sen, 2019. "Informal work in sub-Saharan Africa: Dead end or steppingstone?," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2019-107, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  • Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp-2019-107
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    Cited by:

    1. Roosa Lambin & Milla Nyyssölä, 2022. "Incorporating informal workers into social insurance in Tanzania," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2022-84, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    2. Sacchetto, Camilla & Daniel, Egas & Danquah, Michael & Telli, Henry, 2020. "Informality and Covid-19 in sub-Sarahan Africa," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 111562, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Simone Schotte & Michael Danquah & Robert Darko Osei & Kunal Sen, 2023. "The Labour Market Impact of COVID-19 Lockdowns: Evidence from Ghana," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies, vol. 32(Supplemen), pages 10-33.
    4. Rajesh Raj Natarajan & Simone Schotte & Kunal Sen, 2020. "Transitions between informal and formal jobs in India: Patterns, correlates, and consequences," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2020-101, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    5. Kishan Shah, 2022. "Diagnosing South Africa’s High Unemployment and Low Informality," CID Working Papers 138a, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    6. Hanna Berkel & Finn Tarp, 2022. "Informality and Firm Performance in Myanmar," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 58(7), pages 1363-1382, July.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Informality; Labour market dynamics; Sub-Saharan Africa; Labour market segmentation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • J46 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Informal Labor Market
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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