Dissertation Abstracts

Extending pensions to informal sector workers: Ghana's case

Author: Isaac K Frimpong, ikfrimpong2000@yahoo.com
Department: Sociology
University: University of Southampton, United Kingdom
Supervisor: Professor Traute Meyer
Year of completion: In progress
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: social insurance , informal workers , social protection
Areas of Research: Comparative Sociology , Poverty, Social Welfare and Social Policy , Social Classes and Social Movements


This study explores and evaluates extending social protection to informal workers with a focus on Ghana. It is inspired by the lack of social protection particularly social insurance (pensions) coverage by the state for informal workers in developing countries. Informality is ubiquitous and an important characteristic of labour markets in the world with millions of operational economic units and millions of workers pursuing their source of income in informal settings. Despite the assumption by early scholars of its demise, it continues to grow. For example, informal employment in Africa is 85.8 per cent; Asia and Pacific 68.25 per cent; Arab states 68.6 per cent; Americas 40 per cent; Europe and central Asia 25.1 per cent. However, despite the precarious nature of their jobs, a major source of employment, and huge contribution to the gross domestic product, the vast majority of informal workers have little or no coverage of state and market-based social insurance. In SSA, where the traditional institutions of family and community-based groups were the major sources of social protection before the emergence of the wage economy; it continues to be the source of social protection for many who are in informal employment. This study explores links between the providers of social protection – state, market, family and community. This study uses a mixed method approach - focus group discussion, in-depth interview and survey - to collect data and thematic content analysis to analyse the results.