McCormack Speaks

Francoise Carre’s New Co-edited Book Released! The Informal Economy Revisited: Examining the Past, Envisioning the Future


Check it out here (the book is free/open access online): The Informal Economy Revisited:  Examining the Past, Envisioning the Future.  2020.  Martha Chen and Françoise Carré, eds.  London and New York:  Routledge.

WIEGO (Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing)

This landmark volume brings together leading scholars in the field to investigate recent conceptual shifts, research findings and policy debates on the informal economy as well as future challenges and directions for research and policy. Well over half of the global workforce and the vast majority of the workforce in developing countries work in the informal economy, and in countries around the world new forms of informal employment are emerging. Yet the informal workforce is not well understood, remains undervalued and is widely stigmatised.  

Contributors to the volume bridge a range of disciplinary perspectives including anthropology, development economics, law, political science, social policy, sociology, statistics, urban planning and design. The Informal Economy Revisited also focuses on specific groups of informal workers, including home-based workers, street vendors and waste pickers, to provide a grounded insight into disciplinary debates. Ultimately, the book calls for a paradigm shift in how the informal economy is perceived to reflect the realities of informal work in the Global South, as well as the informal practices of the state and capital, not just labour. 

The Informal Economy Revisited is the culmination of 20 years of pioneering work by WIEGO (Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing), a global network of researchers, development practitioners and organisations of informal workers in 90 countries. Researchers, practitioners, policy-makers and advocates will all find this book an invaluable guide to the significance and complexities of the informal economy, and its role in today’s globalised economy.



Martha Chen is a Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School, USA, and Co-Founder, Emeritus International Coordinator and Senior Advisor of WIEGO.

Françoise Carré is Research Director, Center for Social Policy, University of Massachusetts Boston, McCormack Graduate School, Boston, USA, and Director, WIEGO Statistics Programme.

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