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
Date Written: 2012
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: Suggested Citation