Pressures towards and against formalization: regulation and informal employment in Mozambique

Pauline Dibben, Geoffrey Wood, Colin C. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


The informal economy accounts for the bulk of employment in many emerging economies. Regulation theory suggests that all economic activity is characterized by a complex combination of formal and informal regulation. Looking at the case of Mozambique, this article explores the pressures towards and against formalization, and the forms regulation can take, drawing on qualitative research based on in-depth elite interviews and observation. The findings highlight how the State's role in promoting formalization of the informal economy is ambivalent; its approach incorporates both "progressive" elements, which focus on the modernization of regulations and institutions, and "conservative" elements, which inhibit this process of change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-392
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Labour Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Case study
  • Informal economy
  • Informal employment
  • Informal workers
  • Mozambique
  • Regulation
  • State intervention

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