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Philippe Adair and Oksana Nezhyvenko

The chapter addresses the magnitude of prostitution throughout 39 countries, namely the EU-28 plus Norway and 10 non-EU transition countries, as of the year 2010. According to the authors’ literature review concerning both non-coerced and coerced prostitution, empirical studies prove very scarce. Scant data from representative household surveys on male sexual behaviour document the demand side. Data sources are collected on the supply side in order to design three series of estimates using the following measurements: two from HIV prevalence among female sex workers, two from international NGOs and two from victims of sexual exploitation trafficking. Estimates are tested with an OLS model, an ordered probit and country ranking with respect to GDP per capita, legislation, scale, supply-side and demand-side variables, as well as the share of sex work in the female labour force. Estimates are checked against national accounts adjustments for illegal production on the supply side and consumption expenditure on the demand side, using an average price for sexual services and related earnings; neither a profession nor an occupation, prostitution is an economic activity and sex workers belong to informal employment. Four main findings are the assessment for most likely Estimates, the asymmetry of prostitution regimes regarding the magnitude of sex work, the premium in earnings from prostitution and the inclusion of sex workers into informal employment.

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Françoise Carré, Pat Horn and Chris Bonner

This chapter addresses two sets of related questions. It considers what collective negotiation (“bargaining”) looks like and what it means for informal worker organisations and their members. The chapter focuses on informal workers who are categorised mainly as “self-employed” for legal purposes. While much research has concentrated on informal worker organising, far less is known about the kinds of bargaining in which the resulting organisations engage. We address how informal workers access opportunities to bargain with entities that have some power over the conditions of their work. We also explore some of the ways in which negotiation is combined with other approaches and why this occurs in the case of informal workers. The chapter draws on internal documents from the global research and policy network Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) that monitor collective negotiations underway and some published cases. It relies on material from a monitoring of collective negotiations by street vendor organisations, which has been ongoing since 2013 and which co-author Horn conducts through remote interviews and some face-to-face meetings with 32 organisations, combined with selected cases of negotiations by home-based and street vendor worker organisations in several countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The two worker groups—street vendors and home-based workers—provide a contrast in work setting and gender composition. Street vendors operate in the public space and are a mixed-gender group, whereas home-based workers are most often women and work in private space. The chapter examines what self-employed informal workers and their organisations want from negotiation, and how their situation differs from that of formal workers. We develop a typology of negotiations in which informal worker organisations engage and provide country examples for these types of platforms based on case studies as well as the review of street vendor negotiations. A later section discusses how and why informal worker organisations engage in global venues for purposes of negotiation. The conclusion provides reflections and points to directions for future research.

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Frédéric Lapeyre

A series of recent research papers commissioned by the ILO provides some key findings on the various challenges of any intervention that aims to transition from the informal to the formal economy, along with the necessary conditions for collective regulation to ensure the effectiveness and legitimacy of public policies in that matter. Indeed, public policies that aim to facilitate the transition to the formal economy must incorporate genuine replacement solutions for the livelihood security of grassroots actors; this is a crucial test for the legitimacy of the project. Faced with exclusion, social fragmentation and anomie, the State’s responsibility is to make “cohabitation” within the formal economy bearable, possible and thinkable. The results of studies carried out among “ordinary people” reveal that household livelihood security is one of people’s main concerns. In this regard, this should form the central plank of any integrated formalisation strategy and a component of a democratic “new deal” between the people and the State. The “deal” includes consolidating local associative movements and creating an inclusive state that guarantees collective freedoms, social justice and the construction of territories where “sustainable good life” is possible.

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Sonia Maria Dias and Lucía Fernández

The advancement of neo-liberalism has informed discourses and practices based on the assumption that government authorities should not or are not capable of assuming the main responsibility of protecting people’s livelihoods. Individuals and communities are increasingly pressured to rely on their own resources to confront hardships. There is a strong body of literature on cooperation models between workers, or between workers, employers, and/or governments. While cooperatives and co-production models often can be associated with the neo-liberalisation agenda, there are also examples of transformative experiences in the waste sector. In many developing cities, in the absence of municipal recycling systems, waste pickers’ organisations have been formed and have been fighting for integration into waste management schemes. By doing so, they complement the formal solid waste systems with a cooperative system based on recovery of recyclable materials. In this chapter we draw from three cases in which waste picker cooperatives are engaged as service providers in solid waste management and also from scholarship on waste governance and co-production with the aim of contributing to the body of scholarship on models of formalisation of the informal waste workers. We claim that waste pickers play a key role in urban metabolism and their organisations have been able to shape alternative routes for creation of green jobs and formalisation routes through their struggles for social protection, for decent work, and for acknowledgement as service providers in municipal recycling schemes. Cooperatives carry out a social function by avoiding socio-economic exclusion, they provide a public health service as service providers in urban solid waste systems, and they are key economic actors in the recycling chain. Given these contributions it is important to analyse waste pickers’ cooperatives under a multidimensional approach and to frame comprehensive policies and regulations that can strengthen coops’ role in furthering decent work. We argue that cooperatives can contribute to decent work by: tackling social and economic exclusion of marginalised groups; creating ways to extend social protection for informal workers; playing a role in enhancing channels of social dialogue and political negotiations; contributing to rights at work by helping in the mitigation of economically vulnerable and physically risky work conditions; and being a source for building women’s empowerment.

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Nancy Folbre

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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Dorothy McCormick, Erick Manga, Radha Upadhyaya, Paul Kamau, Herbert Wamalwa and Samuel Ngigi

The chapter examines the relationship between informality and national development in Africa, with a particular emphasis on informal businesses in Kenya. Drawing on the vast academic literature on informal economy and national development, the chapter first reviews the varied conceptualisations of national development. The second part of the chapter briefly explores the many conceptualisations of ‘informality’, focusing on the period between 1972, when two important documents first named the sector, through the 1980s and 1990s, to the present. The chapter proceeds to explore how the linkages between these two concepts have evolved over time through national policy lenses, manifestation of informality, and its contribution to national development. Finally, the chapter draws three main conclusions. The first is that the multiplicity of understandings of both informality and the aims of national development, have led to complex and often conflicting attitudes, policies, and actions towards the informal economy. The second conclusion is that the result of this multiplicity of policies, regulations, and government understandings is that policies, regulations, and government actions come from differing development perspectives, making coherent policy difficult to achieve. The third is that, whereas appreciation of the role of informality in the Kenyan economy is increasing, much more research is needed to guide policymakers in crafting appropriate policies. This research should include historical, sector-specific, and policy-driven studies using both quantitative and qualitative methodologies.

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Erika Kraemer-Mbula and Lorenza Monaco

With the disruptive effects of new and emerging technologies in industrial patterns of production, the Global South and the countries with the lowest income in particular, must reflect on their development trajectories and objectives. Current patterns of industrialisation have been accompanied by growing income inequalities and a higher concentration of industrial activity in larger businesses, such as multinational enterprises. This has important implications for the industrialisation path in Africa, where manufacturing is dominated by small, informal firms. Evidence portrays these firms as highly innovative, although experiencing low technological capabilities and low productivity. This chapter urges the need to rethink industrial strategies on the African continent by proposing a ‘bottom-up approach to industrialisation’ that brings with it larger participation by micro- and small enterprises, including informal ones, by building on their distinct innovation and networking capabilities. Indeed, building inclusive and sustainable growth, and aiming to reduce intra- and inter-countries’ inequalities while securing participatory development practices, ought to be at the core of any future industrialisation strategy on the continent. In particular, this chapter claims that bottom-up industrialisation will have to start from the reconsideration and expansion of two concepts: informality and innovation.

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Jeremy de Beer and Nicole Tumaine

This chapter seeks to highlight the role of refugees within innovation systems, specifically in informal sector innovation. Refugee communities are vibrant hotbeds of innovation, where migrants transfer knowledge and skills to new environments and entrepreneurship happens of necessity. Thus, there are many benefits that might flow to countries that embrace the innovative potential of refugees. At the same time, the world’s refugee population is growing faster than humanitarian aid’s capacity to keep up with the needs of refugees. To address this gap, the international community through policies such as the UN Global Compact for Refugees is calling for more sustainable solutions to ensure refugee self-reliance. Innovation and entrepreneurship in the informal sector is a promising path towards greater self-reliance. Countering the narrative that refugees are a drain on society, this chapter examines innovation by refugees in the informal sector in Uganda both within and outside of refugee camps. It showcases ways in which refugees have provided innovative solutions to community-faced problems that benefit both the host and refugee communities.

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Stephen S. Golub and Mirayda Martinez

In Africa, the informal sector is often in fact quite well organised and even has a major international dimension: informal cross-border trade (ICBT) often swamps official trade. Kinship networks frequently play a major role in domestic economies and in ICBT across Africa, both substituting for and undermining official institutions. In Africa, allegiance to traditional sources of authority is often far more binding than to the modern state. In this chapter, we review the role of kinship groups in African economies, with particular focus on ICBT. The chapter documents the pervasiveness of these phenomena and illustrates them in more detail with case studies of several groups, such as the Mourides in Senegal–Gambia, the Yoruba in Nigeria–Benin, the Hausa across the Sahel, and the Bamiléké in Cameroon.

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Ana Carolina Ogando and Jenna Harvey

The current global trend of rising populism, emerging from a divisive anti-politics and anti-establishment narrative, has reinforced political, economic and cultural resentments and has catalysed exclusionary practices targeting already vulnerable groups. Within this context of narrowing space for civic participation and the growing propagation of misinformation towards political ends, co-production – as an approach to generating knowledge for social change – has much to contribute to struggles for equity and democracy. The chapter considers two cases of knowledge co-production from the WIEGO network – an exploratory participatory action research effort with a national organisation of waste pickers in Brazil, and a transnational action research study involving informal workers’ organisations in ten cities. We explore the potential of knowledge co-production as both a democratic research innovation and a political strategy, to build new knowledge, capacities and resistance from the grassroots.