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Gaceta Sanitaria

versión impresa ISSN 0213-9111


RUIZ, Marisol E.; TARAFA ORPINELL, Gemma; JODAR MARTINEZ, Pere  y  BENACH, Joan. Can informal employment be compared in South America?: analysis of its definition, measurement and classification. Gac Sanit [online]. 2015, vol.29, n.1, pp.65-71. ISSN 0213-9111.

Objective: To characterize and analyze the situation of informal employment with regard to its definition, measurement and classification in South American countries. Methods: A literature review was conducted from four databases and grey literature through a scoping review, which included reports from international organizations and from the 12 countries in South America. The data were analyzed by evaluating content and establishing similarities among countries. Results: The data reviewed showed a disparity in the definitions used, although many countries define informal employment as workers with no contract. Most countries measured informal employment through household surveys, but due to the differences in classifications, the information found was heterogeneous, with little standardization among registries. Therefore, the data could not be compared at a regional level. The definition of the International Labour Organization was not useful to study informal employment in the countries studied. The definition should include protected and unprotected workers. Conclusions: An appropriate and specific definition of informal employment would allow nuances to be studied within the concept, revealing the loopholes faced by most of the population working informally. The key to meaningful comparisons within the study region is to incorporate common indicators among local registration systems (measurement) in order to determine the public health impact in the informally employed population.

Palabras clave : South America; Employment; Socioeconomic factors; Classification; Public health.

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