Evaluating the Formalization of Work Thesis: Evidence from France

SAIS Review, 2001, Vol. XXI, No.1, pp. 117-122.

6 Pages Posted: 26 Dec 2015

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

A widely held belief is that as economies become more “advanced,” there is a natural and inevitable shift of economic activity from the informal to the formal sphere (herein referred to as the “formalization of work” thesis). Hence, the existence of supposedly “traditional” informal activities is seen as a manifestation of “backwardness” that are assumed to disappear with economic “advancement” and “modernization.” The aim of this paper is to evaluate critically this formalization of work thesis. Taking France as a case study, we first outline the data available for France and, following this, the validity of the formalization of work thesis. Revealing that for some twenty-five years the French economy has been undergoing a process of informalization, we conclude by discussing the wider implications of this finding for understanding economic development.

Keywords: Informal sector, household work practices, livelihoods, economic development, England

JEL Classification: H26, J46, K42, O17

Suggested Citation

Williams, Colin and Windebank, Jan E., Evaluating the Formalization of Work Thesis: Evidence from France (2001). SAIS Review, 2001, Vol. XXI, No.1, pp. 117-122., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2708034

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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