Intimations of Keith Hart’s ‘Informal Economy’ - In the Work of Henry Mayhew, P T Bauer and Richard Salisbury
46 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2012 Last revised: 7 Jun 2012
Date Written: March 12, 2012
This paper considers the idea of informality in market exchange, as introduced into the economic development literature by Keith Hart in the 1970s. In addition to Hart (1971, 1973) it will discuss three writers who may be considered his intellectual forerunners. Each, to a greater or less degree, anticipated the idea of informal economic activity and described it in a particular historical period and place. They are the mid-Victorian journalist Henry Mayhew (London, c.1850), the libertarian economist P. T. Bauer (British West Africa, c.1948) and the economic anthropologist R. F. Salisbury (colonial New Guinea, c.1952-1963). The principal texts relied upon are Mayhew’s monumental London Labour and the London Poor (4 vols, 1851-61), Bauer’s Economics of Under-Developed Countries (1957) and Salisbury’s From Stone to Steel (1962) and Vunamami: Economic Transformation in a Traditional Society (1970).
Keywords: informal economy, informal sector, Keith Hart, Henry Mayhew, P. T. Bauer, Richard Salisbury
JEL Classification: B20, B25, B31, J40, J49, O10, O17, Z10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
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By Keith Tribe