Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Report
Title Informal Economy and Labour Market Policies and Institutions in selected Mediterranean Countries: Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Algeria and Morocco
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2010
URL http://wiego.org/sites/wiego.org/files/publications/files/Charmes_IE.Synthesis.Mediterranean.pdf
During the past 40 years, developing countries have experienced a steady rise of
informal employment, with acceleration and deceleration depending on the periods and
the pace of economic growth and crises: economists and statisticians have for long
observed and measured the counter- or pro-cyclical behaviours of informal employment
and of its various components.
It is in 2002 that the International Labour Conference put on its agenda the
discussion on decent work and the informal economy (ILO, 2002), which preceded the
adoption of guidelines for the definition of informal employment, by the 17th
International Conference of Labour Statisticians in 2003. This was the final step of a long
debate, which had started at the beginning of the 1970s when the threat of unemployment
in relation with the rise of urbanisation and rural-urban migration justified the launch and
the implementation of the World Employment Programme by the ILO. The concept of
‘informal sector’ encompassing the small and petty enterprises was then coined by the
authors of the Kenya report (ILO, 1972), while at the other extreme of the African
continent, in Ghana, Keith Hart preferred to design a concept of ‘informal income
opportunities’ (Hart, 1971). These two diverging approaches fed a living debate until
their final convergence with the 2002 and 2003 international conferences. During 3
decades, several reports paved the way towards the adoption of the concept of informal
employment: the ILC reports on ‘Self-employment’ (ILO, 1990), ‘The dilemma of the
informal sector’ (ILO, 1991), ‘Decent work’ (ILO, 1999) as well as the works on ‘socioeconomic
security’ (Standing, 2003) have deeply influenced our views on the quantity
and quality of work. “Towards More and Better jobs” became the main goal of the
‘Global Employment Agenda’ adopted in 2003, which aimed at making employment
central in economic and social policies on the basis of the four pillars of the International
Labour Organisation, which are also the four pillars of its Decent Work Agenda:
employment promotion, rights at work, social dialogue and social protection. These
objectives were solemnly repeated by the International Labour Conference, which
adopted in 2008 the Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalisation

Related studies