Cities in the Developing World – NBER – article

Cities in the Developing World

Gharad Bryan, Edward Glaeser, Nick Tsivanidis | NBER


Past literature in the context of slum dwellers rarely acknowledges the occupational variation in informal job types. The dearth of studies also exists in specifying the informal types where public policy can result in their improved livelihoods. Based on 240 respondents settled in the slums of four districts of West Bengal, it analyses the types of informal employment in offsetting poverty of the slum dwellers. The participation of only 27 percent of the women in informal employment as compared to 73 percent of the male suggests the existence of gender gap in informal employment. The study finds that irrespective of the types of informal employment, the workers mostly belong to the economically weaker sections. The self-employed population is better regarding earning, using the formal account for savings, and job security (tenure). The findings suggest the enhancement of opportunities for the vendors and drivers among the self-employed, and the labourers working in the electrical and electronic sectors among the paid-employees. The district, gender, relationship status, and social network are among the major variables that determine the self-employment pattern of the slum dwellers.


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