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Introduction to Special Section on the Informal Sector


The informal sector - that of unregulated economic activities - has been the subject of much inquiry and debate among development practitioners and scholars. The discussion has encompassed issues of the .sector's definition and boundaries, political and economic significance, and programmatic (or policy) implications. On none of these issues have researchers been able to agree. At the same time, the 'informal sector' concept has spread beyond its early use in development circles into various disciplinary areas of planning. Our concern in organizing this section was to re-examine the conceptual basis of the infor­ mal sector and its application throughout planning research and analysis.

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