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Africa

Informal Sector Comparison: Manufacturing vs Services

Mohammad Amin's picture

I have been comparing the differences between manufacturing and services firms in the informal or unregistered sector. There is a rich literature on how and why these firms differ, but it is based on firms in the formal or registered sector. It’s a moot point whether differences between manufacturing and service firms in the formal sector also hold for the informal sector. For example, differences in scale economies between service and manufacturing firms are known to be important for the formal sector, but this is not immediately obvious when comparing these firms in the informal sector.

“Unwilling” Entrepreneurs

Mohammad Amin's picture

The common perception of the informal sector is that unregistered businesses are not as efficient as registered or formal businesses. One proposed reason for this is that, by not being registered, informal businesses face severe hardships in accessing finance, markets, public services and government programs. Hence, the usual policy response to informality is simple: try and encourage informal businesses to register.

A Chinese Marshall Plan?

Geoff Dyer explores the idea of using China's massive foreign exchange reserves to form an investment vehicle for emerging markets. He has assembled a series of proposals from leading Chinese thinkers, including some from within the government.

For example:

Mobile phones for development: don’t forget about the voice!

Mobile phones heated up once again the development 2.0 summer debate: from the NYT on the uses of mobile phones for safe water distribution, to the upcoming World Bank study on mobile phones for education; from CTA’s overview of the uses of mobile phones for agricultural devel

Non-habit forming development aid

Ryan Hahn's picture

Does too much aid lead countries to become aid dependent? Clearly this is a possibility, and one that some aid critics believe is an inevitability. But I wouldn't say that aid is necessarily habit forming. The key issue is whether the aid is sustainable—in other words, whether the recipient country is taking the necessary steps to wean itself off aid over the longer term.

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