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Economic informality as a national project

Gustavo Fondevila and Miguel Quintana-Navarrete

Review of Social Economy, 2019, vol. 77, issue 4, 523-554

Abstract: Despite the numerous theoretical and empirical gains rendered by research that has attempted to ‘bring the State back in’ to the study of economic informality, this literature has focused on state regulation and law enforcement while for the most part neglecting the analysis of the state as both an ideological product and a producer of meanings and ideologies. In this paper, we analyze the Mexican state's conceptualizations of economic informality in a period spanning four federal administrations (1988–2012). We examine how Mexican presidents constructed a particular understanding of economic informality and, how they embedded these understandings in broader ‘state ideologies’. Despite some continuities, we find that each administration defined economic informality in relation to different ‘state ideologies’ that in turn legitimized the administration in turn. We also show that despite the relevance of academic theories to understand these phenomena, their focus on regulation and enforcement hampers their explanatory potential.

Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1080/00346764.2019.1626476

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