Title

Social embeddedness, formal labor supply, and participation in informal work

Keywords

embeddedness, USA, informal economy, Informal Work, Self-provioning

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze data from the first-ever national-level study of informal work in the USA to test two prominent points of focus in the literature: how participation in informal work relates to social embeddedness and formal labor supply. This paper also provides a comparative test of the factors associated with exchange-based informal work (i.e. money/barter) vs self-provisioning activities.

Design/methodology/approach

The study draws on data from a national-level household telephone survey and uses descriptive statistics and logistic regression models.

Findings

The data show that participation in the informal economy is widespread in the USA. Consistent with theory, it is found that measures of social embeddedness and formal labor supply are much more salient for predicting participation in informal work for money/barter compared to self-provisioning.

Originality/value

Drawing on unique data from the first national-level household survey of informal work in the USA, this study provides generalizable support for the contention that the informal sector stands as a persistent structural feature in modern society. The results build on the wealth of information produced by qualitative case studies examining informal economic activity as well as a smaller number of regionally targeted surveys to provide important theoretical insights.

Original Publication Citation

Slack, Tim, Michael R. Cope, Leif Jensen, Ann R. Tickamyer. 2017. “Social Embeddedness, Formal Labor Supply, and Informal Work.” International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 37:248-264.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2017-04-11

Publisher

Emerald

Language

English

College

Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Department

Sociology

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor

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