Convened by Michael Danquah and Kunal Sen (United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER)
Policy makers are sorely challenged finding ways to encourage movement of workers from the informal sector to the more productive formal sector and, concurrently, create opportunities for more dynamic informal firms to flourish and grow while at the same time provide their workers decent and remunerative work. Bringing in classical accounts of economic development, economic growth is seen to be accompanied by a decline in the informal sector, yet in most developing countries the informal sector remains a persistent phenomenon despite rapid economic growth in recent decades. With premature deindustrialization and the growth of the informal service sector, it seems likely that the trajectory towards informalization in low-income and middle-income countries may be intensified in the future.
To delve deeper on the patterns and drivers of informality, in 2019 UNU-WIDER launched a wide-ranging research project Transforming Informal Work and Livelihoods, with a goal of gathering and providing knowledge for better policy-making by understanding the causes and consequences of informality feeding into the informal work sector. The project team spanned the globe with contributions from country experts providing rich, at times granular studies on the distribution of workers between different segments of informal work, the job ladder, transitions between work statuses as well as the causes and consequences of the informality trend. Several key policy suggestions were derived from the study for specific countries.
Drawing on research and analysis from project, the roundtable seeks to share and discuss the findings and policy options with a wider audience (national government and local actors, regional bodies, UN and international community, development donors).
Uma Rani from ILO
Kunal Sen from UNU WIDER