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Is the Informal Sector Politically Different? (Null) Answers from Latin America

Baker, Andy and Velasco-Guachalla, Vania Ximena (2018) 'Is the Informal Sector Politically Different? (Null) Answers from Latin America.' World Development, 102. pp. 170-182. ISSN 0305-750X

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Scholars have produced a limited understanding of the effect of informal labor status on a worker’s political attitudes and behavior. We present descriptive evidence on the micropolitical correlates of informality using direct measures of the concept in public opinion surveys from 18 Latin American countries. We test three scholarly impressions of informal workers—that they are less politically engaged, more right-leaning, and more favorable toward noncontributory social programs than formal-sector workers. These are grounded in a dualist conception of labor markets that views the formal and informal sectors as having little overlap. We find minimal evidence for these impressions and argue that recent empirical findings consistent with a revisionist view of informality better account for our null results. According to this view, informal and formal labor markets are highly integrated, which, we argue, melds together the economic interests and political preferences of individuals in both sectors. We also provide evidence that casts doubt on alternative explanations that would attribute our null results to the timing of our surveys, to arational sources of political behavior, or to measurement error.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Latin America; informal sector; mass political behavior; elections; voting
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2020 15:27
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2022 13:19

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