Informal Economies

At base, an informal economy is considered to be any business, worker, or economic activity that falls outside state regulation. Businesses of the informal sector typically operate at a low level of organization, and workers rely on casual employment, often through personal relationships, instead of contractual work. Most scholars agree that a single informal business has no more than 10 employees, but networks of informal workers can stretch across large territories and encompass many people. This entry examines the importance of informal economies with an emphasis on those living in developing countries, during and after wartime, and for women. Some issues frequently associated with informal economies are also discussed.

In some countries, informal economies make up a significant employment base, often after war. Some examples of ...

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