Insights into a predominant and dynamic Informal Sector: the case of Vietnam

Axel Demenet

Décembre 2016

Université Paris-Dauphine

Sous la direction de François Roubaud et Mireille Razafindrakoto

This PhD dissertation is built around four main chapters. Their topic shall sound familiar to policy makers, and to all empirical economists working on microenterprises, as they quesion the common mottos to deal with the informal sector:  “formalize them”, “protect them”, and “train them”. Little of these recommendations rely on actual evidence, in particular regarding their effects for the firms themselves. Chapter one starts by questioning the relevance of formalization: what exactly do these production units have to gain from registration? The second chapter investigates the vulnerability of microenterprises to health problems: how much do they suffer from the consequences of health shocks within the household? The third chapter deals with the complementary question of the protection mechanisms, and questions the mitigating potential of health insurance. The fourth chapter finally deals with their managerial capital: do the business skills that are considered standard among larger firms have any meaning for informal micro enterprises?