This paper aims to evaluate critically the rival representations of the role of the informal economy which is variously portrayed as a leftover from an earlier mode of production, a direct by-product of late capitalism, an alternative to the formal economy or a complement to formal work. Reporting evidence from a survey of 500 participants in Gambia, the finding is that although each and every representation of its role is valid in relation to particular populations and/or specific types of informal work, no one representation fully captures the diverse and multiple roles played by the informal economy in contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa. The consequent argument is that only by using all of them can a finer-grained and more comprehensive understanding of the multifarious roles of the informal economy be achieved. The outcome is a more multilayered and nuanced understanding of the role played by the informal economy in contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa.
|Pages (from-to)||195 - 215|
|Number of pages||20|
|Journal||International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business|
|Early online date||18 May 2016|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|
- nformal sector; economic development; livelihoods; Gambia; Sub-Saharan Africa; shadow economy; SSA.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences(all)