This paper critically analysed the conceptual and operational clarification of the relationship between informality and quality of employment in the context of Colombia, in order to comprehend the complexity and heterogeneity of the labour market, in light of the problems of development regarding precarious work. Built on the discussion between concepts, methods, evidence and practice, this research demonstrated that informality notion, as applied in Colombia, remains inadequate and ill-equipped to define and inform policy-making about the main challenges workers face in terms of work-related insecurities as objective factors of labour quality. As a response, this paper devised an adaptation of the multidimensional definition of precariousness suited to the context of Colombia. In addition, using data from the labour force survey conducted in 2011, this paper proved the challenging task of operationalising a statistical multidimensional index of precarious work. The study results suggest that it is a central notion to explore objective and different degrees of quality work since the prevalence of precariousness is widespread across formal/informal sectoral and occupational boundaries, revealed varying across different socio-economic locations and prevailing in the rural areas. Findings of this paper argument that the official informality indicators used for labour market monitoring and policy-making in Colombia are misleading instrumental lenses that are blind to see insecurities content and protection. For that reason, this paper finally presents some bases for making positive social change drawn from policy implications concerning the introduction of precariousness as an official concept and statistical measure at the national level and with regards to areas in which further research would be necessary.

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Keywords precariousness, work insecurity, work conditions, precarious work, informal employment, informal sector, Colombia, quality of employment
Thesis Advisor Siegmann, Karin Astrid
Persistent URL
Series Development Research (DRES)
Ferreira Sequeda, M.T. (2012, December 14). Informal versus Precarious Work in Colombia : Conceptualisation and Operationalisation to Approach Quality of Labour. Development Research (DRES). Retrieved from