Informal Employment, Poverty and Growth in India and China

The vast majority of workers in India, and an increasing share of the labour force in China, work under conditions described as informal. Broadly defined, this includes self-employment in small unregistered businesses and wage employment in unregulated, unprotected jobs, whether within formal or informal enterprises. Informality of employment has wide-ranging implications for development, presenting challenges in terms of raising incomes, stimulating domestic demand, collecting taxes, enforcing labour regulations and providing social protection. Moreover, the current global financial crisis is bound to have a negative impact on self-employed, informal and unprotected urban workers.

India has a long history of research, activism and policy intervention in the field of informal employment. In contrast, China is only beginning to examine the nature of informality and its implications for policymaking and development. A comparative study of informal employment in the two countries could yield interesting results.

This grant will support such a study, to be carried out jointly by research teams in China (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences - CASS) and India (Gujarat Institute of Development Research - GIDR).

The aim of the research is to understand the relationship between informal employment, economic growth and poverty reduction, and to elucidate the role of the state in regulating the economy and protecting informal workers. It is expected that the research findings will lead to improved instruments for identifying, measuring and understanding informal employment, and to better social protection for informal workers.

Project ID

104239

Project status

Closed

Start Date

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

End Date

Monday, June 4, 2012

Duration

24 months

IDRC Officer

Due, Evan

Total funding

CA$ 486,770

Countries

China, Far East Asia, India, Central Asia, South Asia

Program

Employment and Growth

Project Leader

Professor Jeemol Unni

Institution

Institute of Rural Management Anand Society

Institution Country

India

Institution Website

http://www.irma.ac.in

Project Leader

Fang Cai

Institution

Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

Institution Country

China

Institution Website

http://www.cass.net.cn

Project Leader

Professor Jeemol Unni

Institution

Gujarat Institute of Development Research

Institution Country

India

Institution Website

http://www.gidr.ac.in