Reconceptualising Paid Informal Exchange: Some Lessons from English Cities

Environment and Planning A, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 121-140, 2001

20 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2013

See all articles by Colin Williams

Colin Williams

University of Sheffield - School of Management

Jan E. Windebank

University of Sheffield - Department of French

Date Written: 2001

Abstract

Reporting empirical evidence of paid informal work in lower- and higher-income neighbourhoods of several English cities, the aim of this paper is to map out some geographical variations in the extent and character of paid informal work and their implications for public policy. This reveals that more paid informal work takes place in higher-income neighbourhoods where it is chiefly an economically motivated activity that acts as a substitute for formal employment. In lower-income neighbourhoods, however, the smaller amount of paid informal work taking place is largely conducted for family, neighbours and friends for social rather than economic reasons, although the lowest-income households find themselves unable to engage in this source of informal support. Consequently, three challenges for public policy are identified: to eradicate what is largely economically-motivated paid informal work in higher-income neighbourhoods; to adopt a laissez-faire approach towards the socially-oriented paid informal work in lower-income neighbourhoods; and to develop new institutions of accumulation in lower-income neighbourhoods that enable the socially excluded to engage in community exchange as an informal coping mechanism. The paper concludes by evaluating the rationales, socio-spatial consequences and means of public policy pursuing each of these objectives.

Keywords: informal sector, ecnomic geography, informal economy, urban development, economic sociology

JEL Classification: O17

Suggested Citation

Williams, Colin and Windebank, Jan E., Reconceptualising Paid Informal Exchange: Some Lessons from English Cities (2001). Environment and Planning A, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 121-140, 2001, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2286991

Colin Williams (Contact Author)

University of Sheffield - School of Management ( email )

15 Conduit Road
Sheffield, S10 1FL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/management/staff/williams/index

Jan E. Windebank

University of Sheffield - Department of French ( email )

United Kingdom
(0114) 222 4888 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.shef.ac.uk/french/staff/jwindebank.html

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