It has been 40 years since the International Labour Organization first used the term “informal sector” to identify the now billions of unprotected workers engaged in legal but unregistered enterprises outside formal economic structures. Since then, the world’s economies, large and small, have undergone extreme booms and busts; and the most vulnerable have been those with the largest rates of informality. Today we face the challenge and opportunity to promote inclusive growth across interconnected and interdependent economies.
With four decades of successes and failures in integrating informal workers into mainstream markets, we have the knowledge to implement real and lasting change. Creating a larger deliberate framework for addressing the issue of informality will move the process beyond the theoretical. And including all stakeholders—workers, business, and governments—will take us past short-term, immediate (and, ultimately, ineffective) fixes to a concerted approach for inclusive economic growth.
This lecture is (co-sponsored with the Office of International Programs, Deans of Arts & Sciences and Graduate and Professional Studies)
Karen A. Tramontano is the Founder and President of the Global Fairness Initiative (GFI), a non-profit organization working to promote a more equitable, sustainable approach to globalization to ensure its benefits reach all people, including the working poor.
Before founding GFI, Ms. Tramontano served as Deputy Chief of Staff to President Clinton and counselor to two Chiefs of Staff, Erskine Bowles and John Podesta. Ms. Tramontano's White House portfolio encompassed a wide range of issues, including international trade, transatlantic relations, as well as economic and financial issues involving the U.S. Treasury and Commerce Departments. She played a major role in shaping policy concerning the WTO, OECD and other multi-lateral institutions, while handling public policy issues involving the World Bank and the IMF.
Ms. Tramontano is currently the CEO and co-founder of Blue Star Strategies, LLC, which provides corporate, institutional and public sector clients with results-oriented strategies. Prior to founding Blue Star Strategies, she was a Principal at Dutko Worldwide, where she developed comprehensive multi-level government advocacy strategies for complex global issues.