Income generation, informality and poverty in urban Turkey

Income generation, informality and poverty in urban Turkey PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to examine the key sources of poor urban households’ relative success (or failure) in reducing poverty by income generation activities. It specifically investigates the conditions of informal employment in order to understand how and to what extent they affect households’ chances of success.Design/methodology/approachThe data were drawn from interviews with 17 low-income households randomly selected from an informal gecekondu settlement based in the capital city of Turkey.FindingsThe research challenges the dominant viewpoint, which attributes success to having fewer dependants or more resources. It shows that success depends more on the benefit delivery capacity of resources and this depends largely on wider structural factors. Informal employment is found to constitute one key structural factor, which limits households’ chances of success to a greater extent than formal employment not only through condemning them to low pay but also through imposing more restrictions upon their access to state welfare.Research limitations/implicationsThe case study has significant implications for poverty research and measurement since it reinforces the idea that an improved understanding of poverty and its causes requires a multi-dimensional approach that takes into account the conditions of work extending beyond pay.Practical implicationsThe study shows that substantial improvement upon the lives of poor households requires changes at the macro-level, and the adoption of an employment-centred approach where the priority is given to the creation of jobs with decent working conditions, tighter labour market regulation and effective enforcement of these regulations.Originality/valueThrough a qualitative as well as quantitative exploration of low-income households living in the periphery of the Turkish capital, the study empirically challenges the conventional wisdom about urban survival which overemphasises the resilience of poor people. It also contributes to the less developed parts of the research literature on informal employment through demonstrating its poverty-inducing effects. Furthermore, the study makes a theoretical contribution by developing a new conceptual framework that places informal employment within the wider context of household resources, livelihoods and poverty. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy Emerald Publishing

Income generation, informality and poverty in urban Turkey

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0144-333X
DOI
10.1108/IJSSP-10-2015-0114
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to examine the key sources of poor urban households’ relative success (or failure) in reducing poverty by income generation activities. It specifically investigates the conditions of informal employment in order to understand how and to what extent they affect households’ chances of success.Design/methodology/approachThe data were drawn from interviews with 17 low-income households randomly selected from an informal gecekondu settlement based in the capital city of Turkey.FindingsThe research challenges the dominant viewpoint, which attributes success to having fewer dependants or more resources. It shows that success depends more on the benefit delivery capacity of resources and this depends largely on wider structural factors. Informal employment is found to constitute one key structural factor, which limits households’ chances of success to a greater extent than formal employment not only through condemning them to low pay but also through imposing more restrictions upon their access to state welfare.Research limitations/implicationsThe case study has significant implications for poverty research and measurement since it reinforces the idea that an improved understanding of poverty and its causes requires a multi-dimensional approach that takes into account the conditions of work extending beyond pay.Practical implicationsThe study shows that substantial improvement upon the lives of poor households requires changes at the macro-level, and the adoption of an employment-centred approach where the priority is given to the creation of jobs with decent working conditions, tighter labour market regulation and effective enforcement of these regulations.Originality/valueThrough a qualitative as well as quantitative exploration of low-income households living in the periphery of the Turkish capital, the study empirically challenges the conventional wisdom about urban survival which overemphasises the resilience of poor people. It also contributes to the less developed parts of the research literature on informal employment through demonstrating its poverty-inducing effects. Furthermore, the study makes a theoretical contribution by developing a new conceptual framework that places informal employment within the wider context of household resources, livelihoods and poverty.

Journal

International Journal of Sociology and Social PolicyEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 13, 2017

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