Growth, informal economy and poverty

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1 Growth, informal economy and poverty EGM on Poverty Eradication UN-DESA & ILO June 2011 Azita Berar Awad ILO

2 Outline Context: Pre-crisis trends and post crisis policy debate Trends and characteristics of informality and informalization processes Growth, informality, poverty: multidirectional and complex relations Country analysis: policy matters Conclusions

3 Growth, informality and poverty: focus on the labour market dimension Context: the globalization era, pre global crises High and steady GDP growth Poverty reduction in some countries Poor performance in job creation and quality job creation Persistence of high levels of informality and growing informalization Rising income inequality

4 Post context: questioning the predominant model but fragile, uneven recovery in industrialized economies, continued and deepened jobs crisis and social unrest in several regions; The social and employment crisis underlying the Arab spring- the double digit youth unemployment, low wages and rising informality and inequality; governance of private sector development new debate, discourse on policy paradigms, search for post-washington consensus alternatives that deliver better on jobs, poverty, inequality and informality Crisis response: rediscovery/rehabilitation of macroeconomic policy instrument to stimulate demand; yet derivative/ indirect focus on employment agenda in MDG and post-mdg, post-prs policy development

5 Informality and informalization: the disconnected links between growth, and poverty reduction Informality: pervasively high and major line of LM segmentation; Adopting broader definition (2002): IE: informal sector + informal employment Challenges of data: Global data set in the making (ILO); More significant: Informalization process in spite of high growth or because of it?! Challenges of longitudinal data- In-depth country reviews to examine causalities and policies

6 Growth and informality Growth and informality: reverse relationship clear at extremes of GDP/per capita; (OECD not immune) situation more diverse in the vast range of countries in- between; in a dynamic analysis of growth performance and impact on informality: high growth does not reduce informality and can and is often correlated with increasing informality; Sharp downturns in growth: rise in informality (ex: Indonesia)

7 Source: ILO, Department of Statistics. Statistical Update on Employment in the Informal Economy(June 2011)

8 31 countries: Persons employed in the informal economy by comiponent, latest year Persons available employed in the informal sector Serbia Macedonia, FYR Moldova, Rep. Armenia South Africa Brazil Uruguay Panama Venezuela, BR. Costa Rica Dominican Rep. Argentina Mexico Libera West Bank & Gaza Ecuador Colombia Sri Lanka El Salvador Viet Nam Nicaragua Lesotho Paraguay Peru Uganda Madagascar Honduras Bolivia Zambia Mali India Percentage of non-agricultural employment Source: ILO, Department of Statistics. Statistical Update on Employment in the Informal Economy(June 2011)

9 Serbia Macedonia, FYR Moldova, Rep. Armenia Venezuela Argentina Egypt West Bank & Gaza Sri Lanka Viet Nam 37 countries: Persons employed in informal employment by sex, latest year available Female Male Azerbaijan Turkey South Africa Lesotho Uruguay Brazil Thailand Costa Rica Panama Namibia Dominican Rep. Zimbabwe Mexico Colombia Liberia Ecuador Nicaragua El Salvador Uganda Zambia Peru Paraguay Madagascar Honduras Bolivia Mali India Informal employment (percentage of non-agricultural employment by sex) Source: ILO, Department of Statistics. Statistical Update on Employment in the Informal Economy(June 2011)

10 Segmentation within the informal economy Concentration of young and old; Migrant labour ( internal, overseas) Sectoral variations; Informalization dynamics high in formal sector ( Latin America; Eastern and Central Europe) Asia: evidence of informal units (home work) integrated in multiple subcontracting arrangements for Global Production Chains

11 Poverty and informality Informal employment and poverty: Major overlap and causal relationship: well documented;but paradoxical results in some countries: poverty reduced; not necessarily informal employment In spite of the upper tier argument of voluntary employment in the informal economy remains marginal; Informality and formality divide explain poverty : example lower earnings in the informal economy show high incidence of poverty amongst those working informally;

12 Indonesia, example of earnings gap Source: Calculated from BPS.

13 A four country zoom: growth, informality and poverty Country Period Growth Informality Poverty Patterns of job creation Inequality India , /10 in IE 5,3% annually FE (1,7 % IE) Brazil FE (1,7 % IE) Argentina /10 in IE /10 in IE ( ) Indonesia /10 in IE

14 Brazil s rise in formalization in the 2000s During the 2000s Brazil saw a significant rise in formalization. This can be attributed to: o A favourable macro-economic environment including exchange rate policies o Increase and extension of Minimum wage o Redistributing gains of economic growth through social protection- including Bolsa Familia, pension schemes for rural workers o The Simples Law- simplified and progressive taxation for MSMEs, especial provisions for Individual entrepreneurs

15 Brazil s rise in formalization in the 2000s o Reduced labour supply pressure- lowered fertility and reduction of new entrants, greater educational access. o A gender, race equality national action plan o Improved labour inspection and new approaches to formalization including changes in incentive structures for inspectors and new methods of meeting inspection targets o Greater respect for the law including for domestic workers; Migrant workers

16 Argentina Orienting macro-economic policies towards employment creation Increased access to social security and simplification of procedures. Strengthened labour inspection. Policy support to regularize domestic workers. Increased minimum wages. Strengthened social dialogue. Integrated response to the financial crisis (including expansion of social protection coverage to families in the IE, support to protect formal employment, programmes to improve employability and job inclusion).

17 What do we conclude? In the analytic framework of the 1990s-2000s,the informal economy is not about the residual reserve army of surplus labour of rural urban migrants engaged in subsistence activities, that have not yet been absorbed in the modern formal industrial sector But a pattern in which informality is the product of policies of growth, where employment is principally generated in low quality sectors- and new flexible or blurred forms of employment relationship that have emerged in response to competitive pressures; can only be examined in an integrated and dialectic relationship with the formal segment, high incidence of informality and informalization putting downward pressures on the formal good jobs;

18 What do we conclude? No empirical evidence supporting labour regulation rigidity argument (India, Brazil, Argentina, Eastern Europe) Addressing informal employment from productivity, earnings and protection angles is key to poverty reduction and inclusive growth but currently missing from global agenda;

19 No single magic bullet: a country specific package Policy mix, policy coherence, incentives based: Pro-Employment macro Policies Centrality of informal employment in the development agenda: I, public policies, access to formal finance, skills recognition Labour standards and protection of unprotected work (adaptation and outreach) to small, domestic work, self-employed, etc Equality, empowerment, bargaining power Social transfers and redistribution

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