Is Informal Normal? Towards More and Better Jobs in Developing Countries



Publication date:

31 March 2009


ISBN Number:



€24.00; $32.00; £20.00; ¥3 000  

Informal workers in developing countries make up more than half the workforce. They receive low wages and no formal contracts or benefits, yet often represent the most dynamic part of the economy. The likely surge of informal jobs due to the economic crisis makes the management of informal employment even more challenging and topical. Responding to this emerging challenge is critical, not only for the well-being of millions of workers but also for sustainable development. Is Informal Normal? provides evidence for policy makers on how to deal with this issue and promote more and better jobs for all.




"Is Informal Normal? Towards More and Better Jobs in Developing Countries" has been launched in the framework of a joint Development Centre and Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs seminar on 8 April 2009. Click here for more information on "Employment and Inequality Outcomes: New Evidence, Links and Policy Responses in Brazil, China and India".


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A New Development Centre Study

"Is Informal Normal? Towards More and Better Jobs in Developing Countries" compiles evidence and data on informal employment form across the developing world. It combines this evidence with in-depth case studies to offer insights on the characteristics and causes of informal work. In doing so, "Is Informal Normal?" aims to contribute to evidence-based policy dialogue by taking stock of the importance of informal employment and examining policy options to respond to the challenge of creating more and better jobs.


“The strengths of this volume are many: evidence that “Informal Is Normal;” references to many newer studies and ways of thinking; the consistent three-pronged strategy ; accessibility. Is Informal Normal? will serve as a reference in the literature on informality for years to come.” 

(Gary Fields, Professor, Cornell University)

“In countries such as China, the exceptional scale of rural to urban migration amplifies the challenges from informality. This work provides valuable analytical results for understanding this major transformation, its problems and impacts.”

(Li Shi, Professor, Beijing Normal University)





“This volume is an important contribution to the current policy debates on the informal economy.  …  It recommends providing support to the working poor in the informal economy, making formal structures more efficient and flexible and creating more formal jobs.”

(Marty Chen, Professor, Harvard Kennedy School and WIEGO)

"Informality is a phenomenon that has to be analyzed from different perspectives. This study does it and does it well. Its findings are solid and its recommendations are clear"

(Dr. Gustavo Merino, Deputy-Minister of Prospective, Planning and Evaluation, Ministry of Social Development of Mexico)


How to obtain this publication

Readers will have access the full version of Is Informal Normal? Towards More and Better Jobs in Developing Countries choosing from the following options:



For more information, please contact Ms. Estelle Loiseau (; Tel. +33 (0)1 4524 9559).


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