Texto para Discussão, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (IPEA) 2221
Small businesses have frequently been subject of debates in the contexts of economy as well as public policies. On the other hand, the intermingling between these and the informal economy is undeniable. In this context, the current paper aims to present and analyze the different forms of conceptualization and the results obtained in the many attempts of measuring the informal economy in Brazil. It also seeks to evince that there is not well defined dividing line between what is formal and informal; these realities articulate and complement each other in semiformality. Throughout this study, the difficulties in measuring the real size of informal economy become evident. Nonetheless, all of the existing estimates point to a significant participation of this segment in the national economy as a whole. The many existent initiatives in the country that are aimed at decreasing informality are also examined. However, it is clear that, despite the fact that they have achieved a small decrease in the participation of informality in the whole of the economy through the 21st Century, it is still expanding in absolute numbers.
small business labor productivities informality semiformality