Rural-urban variation in informal work activities in the United States

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Using a unique national-level household survey of informal labor in the United States, this paper examines the extent that rural versus urban residence influences the types and forms of participation in informal work activities. The informal economy consists of work activities that generate income or reduce expenditures outside the scope of state regulation in contexts where these activities otherwise would be regulated. Often associated with developing and transition economies, past research using both qualitative and quantitative methods demonstrate its prevalence in industrial and postindustrial economies. In the U.S., most of this research is geographically constrained or limited to specific subpopulations and sectors. Our analysis employs descriptive and multivariate techniques to analyze a national-level household survey on informal economic activity to explore rural-urban variation in the prevalence, forms, importance and correlates of participation in the informal economy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-284
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
StatePublished - May 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science

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