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Global Development Research Center
Research Programme on the Informal Sector

About the Programme

In developing counttries, more than 50% to 80% of all economic activity happens in the informal sector
The informal sector includes all economic activities which are not officially regulated and which operates outside the incentive system offered by the state and its institutions.

While official public policies mostly look at the sector as "illegal" and "criminal" (the black market), there is an increasing realization that the informal sector, in fact, plays an important role in helping the very low income group to find jobs and income, particularly in urban settings.

The research programme looks at the different dimensions of the sector, and policies and programmes that help in mainstreaming it.


informal sector, poor, low-income groups, SMEs, poverty, informal credit, informal finance, labour market, urban areas and cities

Currently, GDRC is focussing on the role of informal sector activities within an urban economy context. It is also researching the strategic policy environments in which the informal sector can function efficiently.

More information on GDRC's Economy sphere
The Informal Sector programme is part of
GDRC's Evonomy Sphere

GDRC Logo The Global Development Research Center (GDRC) is an independent policy think tank that carries out initiatives in the spheres of environment, urban, community, economy and information, and at scales that are effective.

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