Experts Discuss Implications of the Informal Economy on Development, the Environment, and Health at Pardee Center Seminar

On October 17, the Pardee Center hosted a seminar titled “The Informal Economy: Implications for Development, the Environment, and Health.” The seminar featured Pardee Center Faculty Associate Lawrence Were (BU School of Public Health & Sargent College); Hwa-Young Lee (Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health); Afreen Siddiqi (MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics & Harvard University Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs); and Martim O. Smolka (Lincoln Institute of Land Policy).

Informality — the collection of firms, workers, and activities that operate outside legal and regulatory frameworks or outside the modern economy — is considered one of the most difficult challenges facing developing countries. Informality not only reflects underdevelopment but may also lead to further economic decline. This presents two questions: what is the role of informality in socioeconomic development, and how does informality influence welfare and sustainability? This seminar brought together thought leaders on different aspects of informality and sustainability for a discussion around these issues vis-à-vis the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and around meaningful and timely solutions to the challenge of informality.

Watch the full seminar above.