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Global Development Institute

WP165/2012

Labour informality in Latin America: the case of Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Peru

Roxana Maurizio

Analysis of labour informality is very relevant in Latin America. More than half of all workers in the region are employed in informal activities, mainly as own account workers or wage earners in small enterprises. A similar percentage of people work in jobs not registered in the social security system. The aim of this paper is to analyse two important aspects related to informality from a comparative point of view. The first is the association of informality, labour precariousness and income segmentation. The second is the relationship between informality and poverty. In order to conduct this study, four countries were selected – Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru – whose informal sectors and informal employment are significantly different from each other. Data used in this paper come from household surveys with the most recent available information.