IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The informal sector revisited : a synthesis across space and time


  • Blunch, Niels-Hugo
  • Canagarajah, Sudharshan
  • Raju, Dhushyanth


The concept of the informal sector (IS) has recently received widespread and growing attention. Indeed, it may be fair to talk about a re-emergence of the concept in the debate related to social protection and poverty reduction. We argue that with this new found prominence, it is even more important that we better understand the IS. Only with an improved understanding of the issues and dimensions of the IS can we design policies and programs which effectively address the needs of workers engaged in informal sector activities. This paper is an attempt to contribute to such an increased understanding by highlighting important pieces in understanding the concept of the IS across (1) time, briefly discussing how our view of the concept of the IS has evolved over time and (2) space, presenting empirical evidence and stylized features across regions. After presenting the current state of knowledge of the IS, we distill key aspects and issues of the IS and discuss their implications for policy design and implementation, especially in the context of fighting poverty and improving livelihoods of the poor in developing countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Blunch, Niels-Hugo & Canagarajah, Sudharshan & Raju, Dhushyanth, 2001. "The informal sector revisited : a synthesis across space and time," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 23308, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:hdnspu:23308

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert Holzmann & Steen Jørgensen, 2001. "Social Risk Management: A New Conceptual Framework for Social Protection, and Beyond," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 8(4), pages 529-556, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:hdnspu:23308. 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: (Raiden C. Dillard). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.