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Does informal employment improve livelihood in the long-term in Azerbaijan?

Nahmadova, Firuza (2021): Does informal employment improve livelihood in the long-term in Azerbaijan? Published in: Baku Research Institute (November 2021)

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Abstract

Much of the research on income inequality, and livelihood rely on government labor and wages statistics. In emerging economies, the lack of reliable data and the prevalence of informal employment is often mentioned as the main limitation to the credibility of these studies’ results. Azerbaijan is one such case where it is quasi-impossible to estimate an actual average income as informal employment is over half of the entire economy due to, among others, undeclared revenue, low-level bribery, and low formal income. This paper investigates whether informal employment and the undeclared (informal) income that citizens perceive from the related activities improve their livelihoods in the long-term. The relationship between income inequality and informal employment will be discussed based on a comparative analysis of three developing countries from three different regions, namely Africa, Central America, and South-East Asia. Evidence from these developing economies suggests that informal income does not positively impact their livelihoods. The paper ends with a discussion of the impact of informal employment in Azerbaijan using household income per capita statistics for 2020. The discussion suggests that the prevalence of informal employment does not improve the livelihood of the average household.

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