Chapter 6: Informal employment and non-market work
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This chapter argues that ‘informal employment’ should be redefined as ‘informal market employment’ and its current non-market component (production of goods for own consumption) should be considered part of a larger non-market economy that includes family care services. This reconceptualisation of the economy as a whole puts informal market employment in a context that can help explain its global patterns and dynamics. A brief intellectual history of the categorical distinctions applied by national and international statistical agencies reveals distinctly gendered assumptions that have concealed many of women’s economic contributions. While these assumptions have gradually loosened over time, they remain influential today: the current System of National Accounts production boundary enforces an arbitrary and outdated line between the ‘economic’ and the ‘non-economic’. Revision of this boundary has both conceptual and empirical implications for the analysis of informal employment.

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