The Informal Economy in Development

Evidence from German, British and Australian New Guinea

By John D. Conroy

December 2020

Image of book coverEconomic informality – originally identified by Keith Hart – arose under colonial rule because of the imposition of bureaucracy and the forced introduction or intensification of market economy. Informality challenges bureaucracy by failing to conform and a metaphor of pushback suggests how subject peoples accommodated themselves to colonial economy. The Western victors of World War II adopted an ideology of ‘economic development’. This provided a rich environment for the emergence of informal and hybrid economic behaviours in late-colonial territories and new states. The Informal Economy in Development explores these themes in the former German, British and Australian colonies which preceded the modern state of Papua New Guinea, while an Epilogue considers the present status and future prospects of economic informality in PNG. The book or individual parts are available to download for free.

» download whole book
» download Prelims, Foreword and Preface
» download Part A: Economic informality – An idea and its relevance to Melanesia
» download Part B: From early colonisation to the Pacific War
» download Part C: Informality in the era of economic development
» download Part D: Birth pangs – All these are the beginning of sorrows and Epilogue

Conroy, J. D 2020, The Informal Economy in Development: Evidence from German, British and Australian New Guinea, Development Policy Centre, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, Canberra.

Karen Downing

Karen Downing is Research Communications Coordinator at the Development Policy Centre.