Evaluating the Explanations for the Informal Economy in Third World Cities: Some Evidence from Koforidua in the Eastern Region of Ghana

International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Vol. 8, No. 3, 2012, pp. 309-324.

19 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2015

See all articles by Kwame Adom

Kwame Adom

University of Ghana

Colin Williams

University of Sheffield - School of Management

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

This paper re-evaluates the explanations for informal work in third world cities. Until now, informal work has been theorized either as a residue (modernisation), by-product of contemporary capitalism conducted out of economic necessity (structuralism) or an alternative to formal work chosen due to either an over-burdensome state (neo-liberalism) or for social, redistributive, resistance or identity reasons (post-structuralism). Reporting a study of 80 households in Koforidua in Ghana, this paper finds that although its depiction as a residue is not valid, the other representations of the informal economy are each valid in relation to different types of informal work and varying populations in this third world city, and that only by combining them will a finer-grained and more comprehensive understanding of the diverse nature of the informal economy be achieved. The outcome is a call for more nuanced explanations of the informal economy in other contexts.

Keywords: informal economy, livelihood practices, urban development, economic development, Ghana

JEL Classification: H26, J46, K42, O17

Suggested Citation

Adom, Kwame and Williams, Colin, Evaluating the Explanations for the Informal Economy in Third World Cities: Some Evidence from Koforidua in the Eastern Region of Ghana (2012). International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Vol. 8, No. 3, 2012, pp. 309-324., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2706142

Kwame Adom

University of Ghana ( email )

PO Box 25
Legon, Accra LG
Ghana

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

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