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Tuesday, February 20, 2007 

Juggling Between, Two Lanes: The Informal Sector and Economic Growth
What a puzzling issue! The role of the informal sector in economic growth has always drummed up some heated exchanges re the adaptation of policy measures to monitor its expansion and changing structures.
At these junctures, one of the problematique is the extent to which an approach toward formalization could affect the process of growth, given the lack of incentives to shift informal activities into the formal sector.

As it has been demonstrated over-time the intermediate role of the informal sector which at times bond the formal sub-sectors to consumers is a ‘fait-accompli’
However, it is also important to stress that behind these dynamics, there’s a challenging aspect which is the employment structure of the informal sector, and the relationships between income levels and the incidence of poverty.
These perspectives are no strangers to the poverty debates, if we consider the facts that more often than not, informal jobs are closely linked to poor employment and working conditions, or low qualities.
And as a daunting task for policy-makers, the way forward can translate itself by the need to rally an analytical framework which is comprehensive enough as to reflect upon the factors embedded behind the informality-formality trade-offs, and the impacts of formalization for enterprises’ growth, and fiscal policies.

In Barbados, these elements have not been left on the way side, where the implementation of an adapted analytical framework has been part of growing discussions, with an emphasis upon the direction of economic growth, informal settings and women’s participation in the labor force. More >>>

Explaining that today, the informal sector refers to activities which are not recorded in the national accounts of the country, Thompson alluded to the 1997/1998 survey conducted by the Barbados Statistical Department, where 552 sector operators were interviewed. Based on that survey it was estimated that there were 5 720 informal sector operators of which 40.2 were operated by women.

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