The Informal Economy: Who Wins, Who Loses and Why We Care
Giovanna Maria Dora Dore
Published: March 2019
The informal economy is one of the most complex economic and political phenomena of our time. It exists in rich and poor countries alike, and currently employs almost half of the world’s workers, about 1.8 billion people. •At a value of US$10 trillion, the informal economy is the second-largest economy in the world, after the economy of the United States (at US$14 trillion) and before that of China (at US$8.2 trillion). High taxes, labour costs and social security infrastructures, undeclared work and underreporting are among the most powerful drivers of informality. Measures promoting behavioural changes can help counter its growth, even though controls and penalties remain more popular as tools in the fight against the informal economy. The informal sector remains the fastest-growing part of the world economy and we need a better understanding of what it means for business and society and why it is the preferred operating sector for many entrepreneurs.