Paid Informal Work: A Barrier to Social Inclusion?
Transfer: Journal of the European Trade Union Institute, 2001, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 25-40.
17 Pages Posted: 26 Dec 2015
Date Written: 2001
Paid informal work has been conventionally viewed as a barrier to social inclusion. Conceived as exploitative low-paid employment conducted by marginalised populations for unscrupulous employers, such work has been considered to prevent social inclusion, in that it denies employees access to the normal social rights attached to formal employment and takes away jobs from the formal sector. Its eradication is thus pursued so that ‘social inclusion’ (i.e. insertion into formal employment) can be achieved. The aim of this paper is to evaluate critically this conceptualisation of paid informal work and social inclusion. Drawing upon case study evidence from deprived neighbourhoods in British cities, we first show that the vast majority of paid informal work is conducted by and for neighbours, friends and relatives for the purpose of either redistribution or community building. We then argue that a policy of eradicating this work reduces rather than ameliorates ’social inclusion’ in the sense of enabling citizens to help each other out. To conclude we explore the policy implications of our findings.
Keywords: Informal sector, household work practices, livelihoods, economic development, England
JEL Classification: H26, J46, K42, O17
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation