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Informality is an umbrella concept to refer to the social and cultural complexity associated with non-transparency of social phenomena for the outsiders: unwritten rules, open secrets, and hidden practices.[1]

The term ‘informality’ is often used to describe unplanned settlements[2] as well as shadow, second and covert economies.[3][4] Ordinally, informality is linked to poverty, underdevelopment, oppressive regimes, socialism and communism[5], but in fact informal practices are central for the functioning of every society[6]. Old boy network, caffè sospeso, cash for access, astroturfing and kompromat are just a few examples of the various techniques and the geography of informality. The Global Encyclopedia of Informality[7] consists of more than 200 entries from five continents.[8]


  1. ^ "Global Informality Project". Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  2. ^ Hart, Keith (1973). "Informal Income Opportunities and Urban Employment in Ghana". Journal of Modern African Studies. 11 (1): 61–89. doi:10.1017/S0022278X00008089. JSTOR 159873.
  3. ^ Academy of Management 2012 Program Theme: The Informal Economy. Retrieved 7 April 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Godfrey, Paul C. (2011). "Toward a Theory of the Informal Economy". Academy of Management Annals. 5 (1): 231–277. doi:10.5465/19416520.2011.585818.
  5. ^ "Informal Practices in Post-Communist Societies". Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  6. ^ "Global Informality Project". Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  7. ^ Ledeneva, Alena (2018-01-17). The Global Encyclopaedia of Informality (Volume I ed.). ISBN 9781911307907.
  8. ^ Ledeneva, Alena (2018-01-17). The Global Encyclopaedia of Informality (Volume II ed.). ISBN 9781787351899. Retrieved 7 April 2019.