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Book part
Publication date: 10 December 2018

Rina Agarwala and Jennifer Jihye Chun

Gender is a defining feature of informal/precarious work in the twenty-first century, yet studies rarely adopt a gendered lens when examining collective efforts to…

Abstract

Gender is a defining feature of informal/precarious work in the twenty-first century, yet studies rarely adopt a gendered lens when examining collective efforts to challenge informality and precarity. This chapter foregrounds the gendered dimensions of informal/precarious workers’ struggles as a crucial starting point for re-theorizing the future of global labor movements. Drawing upon the findings of the volume’s six chapters spanning five countries (the United States, Canada, South Korea, Mexico, and India) and two gender-typed sectors (domestic work and construction), this chapter explores how gender is intertwined into informal/precarious workers’ movements, why gender is addressed, and to what end. Across countries and sectors, informal/precarious worker organizations are on the front lines of challenging the multiple forms of gendered inequalities that shape contemporary practices of accumulation and labor regulation. They expose the forgotten reality that class structures not only represent classification struggles around work, but also around social identities, such as gender, race, and migration status. However, these organizing efforts are not fighting to transform the gendered division of labor or embarking on revolutionary struggles to overturn private ownership and liberalized markets. Nonetheless, these struggles are making major transformations in terms of increasing women’s leadership and membership in labor movements and exposing how gender interacts with other ascriptive identities to shape work. They are also radicalizing hegemonic scripts of capitalist accumulation, development, and even gender to attain recognition for female-dominated occupations and reproductive needs for the first time ever. These outcomes are crucial as sources of emancipatory transformations at a time when state and public support for labor and social protection is facing a deep assault stemming from the pressures of transnational production and globalizing markets.

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Gendering Struggles against Informal and Precarious Work
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-368-5

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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2018

Francieli Tonet Maciel and Ana Maria Hermeto C. Oliveira

The purpose of this paper is to discuss recent dynamics of the Brazilian labour market, by analysing occupational mobility patterns, specially the transitions between…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss recent dynamics of the Brazilian labour market, by analysing occupational mobility patterns, specially the transitions between formal and informal labour, and verify the earnings mobility resulting from these transitions, separately by gender.

Design/methodology/approach

The changes in the mobility patterns are analysed by performing an estimation of the transition probabilities between different occupational status between 2002 and 2012, using a multinomial logit model and the microdata from the Monthly Employment Survey (PME). The earnings mobility is analysed by using quantile regressions.

Findings

The results indicate a high degree of mobility from unemployment to formal employment in the period but suggest the persistence of mobility patterns. Women are better off in the period, but only among individuals with better attributes. The earnings mobility results, for women and men, suggest an increase in valuation of the formal labour relatively to informality (informal salaried employment and self-employment), especially at the bottom of the earnings distribution.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to a better understanding of recent changes in occupational mobility patterns between formal and informal labour and the earnings mobility underlying these patterns, accounting for the differences along the earnings distribution and gender issues. That is, it allows identify which groups of workers benefited more from the formalisation process to infer about trends in formal–informal dynamics over the period and discuss the challenges in conducting policies to promote inclusive and quality employment.

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International Journal of Development Issues, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1446-8956

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Article
Publication date: 9 April 2018

Francieli Tonet Maciel and Ana Maria Hermeto C. Oliveira

The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of changes in the relative composition and in the segmentation between formal and informal labour on earnings…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of changes in the relative composition and in the segmentation between formal and informal labour on earnings differentials among women over the last decade in Brazil.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors follow Machado and Mata’s method to decompose the changes along the earnings distribution, with correction for sample selection and using microdata from the Demographic Census of 2000 and 2010. Informal labour was divided into informal salaried labour and self-employment, and both groups were compared with the formal labour separately.

Findings

The results indicate that, in both cases, an increase in earnings differentials in the bottom of the earnings distribution due to segmentation, suggesting that the returns to formal labour have grown relatively to informal labour during the period. On the other hand, earnings differentials decrease as one moves up the earnings distribution due to the composition effect, which is stronger on the top of the distribution relatively to the bottom. Furthermore, there are compensating differentials for self-employed women above the 30th quantile, which contributed to reduce the inequality between this group and formal workers.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to a better understanding of the changes taking place in female labour, shedding some light on how they affect different points along the earnings distribution. Furthermore, the adopted approach proposes a new application for the correction of sample bias in the context of quantile regression by employing a logit multinomial, and using the Demographic Census data.

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International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 45 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Article
Publication date: 26 June 2018

Hongshik Lee and Minseok Park

The existing literature on aid for trade (AfT) tends to support the effectiveness of AfT in improving trade capacities and enhancing the export performance of recipient…

Abstract

Purpose

The existing literature on aid for trade (AfT) tends to support the effectiveness of AfT in improving trade capacities and enhancing the export performance of recipient countries. While aid directed at trade-related infrastructure (e.g. ports and roads) is reported to drive the overall effect of AfT, the increasing importance of labor market flexibility and informal labor in export environment has been largely overlooked. The purpose of this paper is to test two hypotheses regarding the relationship between labor market flexibility, exports and AfT. First, flexible labor regulation promotes exports by reducing adjustment costs related to the export process. Second, for informal labor-intensive export sectors, AfT effectiveness may be compromised by the contraction of the informal sector due to labor deregulation as it deteriorates comparative advantage that supports recipients’ export competitiveness.

Design/methodology/approach

Since first introduced by Tinbergen (1962), the gravity model has been widely used to analyze bilateral trade, and its usefulness has been verified in several prominent empirical studies (e.g. Anderson and van Wincoop, 2003; Helpman et al., 2008). However, despite the empirically successful framework of the gravity model, the standard gravity equation may not be appropriate for estimating the effect of AfT in the paper. The main interest lies in whether aggregate AfT flows enhance the export “performance” of individual recipients, that is, whether they improve the recipients’ total exports rather than their bilateral exports. For this purpose, the authors took aggregated approach to the gravity model from Anderson and van Wincoop (2003).

Findings

The findings suggest that while both AfT and labor market flexibility are positively associated with higher export levels, the export-promoting effect of AfT is marginally reduced by the contraction of informal workforce. These findings, however, only hold for export sectors that heavily rely on informal labor force, that is, primary commodities and resource/labor-intensive goods. The authors also find that these effects are stronger in low-income countries, indicating that the AfT initiative has been effective where it is needed the most.

Originality/value

This paper is the first attempt to analyze the relationship between AfT and exports with consideration of labor market flexibility. Using the data for 85 recipient countries, the authors test the following hypotheses. First, labor market flexibility promotes exports by reducing adjustment costs related to the exporting process. Second, the contraction of the informal sector due to labor deregulation deteriorates developing countries’ comparative advantage in certain export sectors. Hence, while both AfT and labor market flexibility are expected to enhance the export volume of developing countries, the loss from weaker comparative advantage in a form of smaller informal labor force can exceed the gains from AfT in certain sectors.

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Journal of Korea Trade, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1229-828X

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Article
Publication date: 30 November 2021

Priyaranjan Jha and Rana Hasan

The purpose of this paper is to understand labor market regulations and their consequences for the allocation of resources.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand labor market regulations and their consequences for the allocation of resources.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper constructs a theoretical model to study labor market regulations in developing countries and how it affects the allocation of resources between the less productive informal activities and more productive formal activities. It also provides empirical support for some theoretical results using cross-country data.

Findings

When workers are risk-averse and the market for insurance against labor income risk is missing, regulations that provide insurance to workers (such as severance payments) reduce misallocation. However, regulations that simply create barriers to the dismissal of workers increase misallocation and end up reducing the welfare of workers. This study also provides some empirical evidence broadly consistent with the theoretical results using cross-country data. While dismissal regulations increase the share of informal employment, severance payments to workers do not.

Research limitations/implications

The empirical exercise is constrained by the lack of availability of good data on the informal sector.

Originality/value

The analysis of the alternative labor market regulations analyzed in this paper in the presence of risk-averse workers is an original contribution to the literature.

Details

Indian Growth and Development Review, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8254

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Book part
Publication date: 16 November 2016

Claudia Trentini

In the last decade, Argentina has experienced a considerable decline in informal employment and wage dispersion. This paper extends a search model with exogenous human…

Abstract

In the last decade, Argentina has experienced a considerable decline in informal employment and wage dispersion. This paper extends a search model with exogenous human capital accumulation to include the informal sector. The model is parametrized to match Argentinian data between 1996 and 1998 – before the onset of the declining trend – and it is used to investigate the contribution of labor market measures to the falling informality, unemployment, and wage dispersion. The findings indicate that institutional factors did not contribute to the positive labor market trends observed; on the contrary, results show that higher severance pay and minimum wages increase informality and that the introduction of unemployment assistance contributed to the spread of informal contracts across the work force. Further, I find that compliance with minimum wage regulation strongly affects the final impact of these policies. While non perfect compliance might reduce unemployment, it reinforces the incentives of workers to move to the informal sector.

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Inequality after the 20th Century: Papers from the Sixth ECINEQ Meeting
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-993-0

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Article
Publication date: 11 September 2017

Aysit Tansel and Elif Öznur Acar

This paper, the first one to use individual-level Turkish panel data, examines the labor market transitions in Turkey along the formal/informal employment divide. The…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper, the first one to use individual-level Turkish panel data, examines the labor market transitions in Turkey along the formal/informal employment divide. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the limited body of empirical evidence available on mobility and informality in the Turkish labor market.

Design/methodology/approach

Toward this end, the authors use Turkish income and Living Conditions Survey panel data for 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 to compute the Markov transition probabilities of individuals moving across six different labor market states: formal-salaried (FS), informal-salaried, formal self-employed, informal self-employed, unemployed and inactive. In order to examine the nature of mobility patterns in more detail, the authors then estimate six multinomial logit models individually for each transition adopting a number of individual and employment characteristics as explanatory variables.

Findings

The authors find evidence that mobility patterns are fairly similar across different time spans, the probability of remaining in initial state is higher than the probability of transition into another state for all the labor market states, except for unemployment, there is only very limited mobility into the FS state. Gender, education and sector of economic activity are observed to display significant effects on mobility patterns. The results reveal several relationships between the covariates and likelihood of variant transitions.

Research limitations/implications

This study provides a comprehensive and detailed diagnosis of the Turkish labor market. The market is observed to display a rather static structure throughout the period considered. The results indicate that a well recognition of underlying dynamics may help policy makers to produce various effective tools for addressing informality.

Originality/value

First study to analyze labor market mobility across formal/informal sectors using newly available panel data.

Details

Journal of Economic Studies, vol. 44 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3585

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Article
Publication date: 9 May 2016

Yulia Chilipenok and Olga Gaponova

This paper aims to address issues related to informal relationships in modern Russian organisations, namely, the extent of these relationships, the conditions of their…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to address issues related to informal relationships in modern Russian organisations, namely, the extent of these relationships, the conditions of their existence and their connection with formal relations.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper contains a discussion of the relevant theoretical issues and a presentation of empirical research conducted by the authors through a survey of the staff of a number of businesses based in major cities of the Russian Federation. The study also includes an analysis of an expert survey of top managers and an assessment of the role of the informal component in the social and labour cooperation of workers and employers in modern Russian organisations.

Findings

It is concluded that with the further advancement of Russia towards establishing an effective market economy, there is a general trend towards a reduction in the role of personal relationships in social and labour relations, although a complete rejection of protectionism in this area is not possible because of certain peculiarities of the Russian mentality.

Practical implications

Knowledge and understanding of the Russian national identity and its influence on the informal component of workplace labour issues will enable managers to be more effective in building and developing modern international business relations.

Originality/value

The paper studies a unique set of empirical data obtained by using authoring tools carefully tailored to the specific conditions of Russia. The results of the study will enable more effective management of informal relations in modern organisations.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

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Book part
Publication date: 10 December 2018

Rina Agarwala

This chapter examines how gender interacts with informal workers’ collective action strategies in the context of contemporary development scripts around economic growth…

Abstract

This chapter examines how gender interacts with informal workers’ collective action strategies in the context of contemporary development scripts around economic growth. Specifically, it engages the theoretical debates on the relationship between patriarchy and capitalism as the systems of domination that organize gender and class. Drawing from a comparative analysis of informal workers’ movements in India’s domestic work and construction sectors, I find the relationship between gender and class and between patriarchy and capitalism is being reconceptualized from below and differs by occupational structures and organization histories. For domestic workers, movements assert what I call a “unitary” model of exploitation. Because domestic workers’ organizations entered the productive sphere through a focus on social reproduction, their struggles conflate gender and class to reverse the shame attached to domestic work and increase the recognized worth of women’s labor. Because construction workers’ organizations mobilize male and female workers and began as class-based organizations focusing on productive work, they articulate what I term “a dual systems” approach to patriarchy and capitalism that exposes inequalities between men and women within the sector, such as unequal pay, glass ceilings, and issues of embodiment. In both cases, global development scripts have not only shaped movement approaches, but also enabled movements to articulate gendered labor subjects in innovative ways. While domestic workers’ unitary model has had more success in increasing women workers’ dignity and leadership, construction workers’ dualist model has attained more successes in attaining material benefits in the reproductive sphere. These findings suggest that debates on unitary versus dual-systems models of exploitation present a false dichotomy and veil the reality that both are necessary for feminist theory, development models, and women workers’ struggles on the ground.

Details

Gendering Struggles against Informal and Precarious Work
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-368-5

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Book part
Publication date: 19 May 2009

Rina Agarwala

Purpose – This chapter illustrates how an economic sociology of work exposes the deeply embedded nature of the informal economy and the social and political lives of its…

Abstract

Purpose – This chapter illustrates how an economic sociology of work exposes the deeply embedded nature of the informal economy and the social and political lives of its growing mass of unprotected workers under globalization. In particular, the premises of economic sociology offer a comprehensive definition of the informal economy that I term, “relational.” In contrast to definitions based on modernization and neoliberal assumptions of isolated economies, relational definitions of the informal economy expose the structures, networks, and political institutions that intertwine informal workers with the formal economy, society, and the state. Operationalizing the relational definition in labor surveys ensures the inclusion of previously invisible informal workers, especially those who operate at the intersection of the informal and formal economy. As well, it ensures the collection of data on the precise ways in which informal workers are socially and politically embedded, including their collective action efforts, the meaning they attach to their labor, and the social networks that determine their life chances.

Methodology – To illustrate this point, I apply a relational definition of informal labor to the case of India, using the National Sample Survey on Employment and Unemployment, as well as findings from interviews with organized informal workers.

Findings – By doing so, I provide an internationally comparative measure of India's informal workforce, illustrate informal workers’ social conditions relative to those of formal workers, highlight the expansion of the informal workforce since the government enacted liberalization reforms, and expose the unique political action strategies Indian informal workers are launching against the state.

Implications/Originality – These findings help us understand Indian informal workers in an internationally comparative context, yielding empirical insights on their social conditions and political organizations for the first time. As well, they call for an important refinement to existing definitions of the informal economy that to date have relied only on Latin American and African experiences.

Details

Economic Sociology of Work
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-368-2

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