Home based enterprises (HBEs) are an accepted component in the informal
sector in rapidly developing cities. However, they have generally received quite a bad press, especially through a concentration on the exploitation evident in piece-rate homework. From our work in low-income neighbourhoods in Cochabamba (Bolivia) New Delhi (India) Surabaya (Indonesia) and Pretoria (South Africa) we assess HBEs with respect to the characteristics of the informal sector put forward in the literature. We examine our samples of HBEs against such characteristics as small-scale, low operator incomes, informal labour relations, and non-separation of production and consumption. We find that they largely conform to expectations. Incomes are low but they are very significant in poverty alleviation. Though many HBEs require few skills, a few compete effectively in international markets.
G. Tipple. The place of home-based enterprises in the informal sector: Evidence from Cochabamba, New Delhi, Surabaya and Pretoria. Urban Studies (2005) 42 (4) 611-632. [DOI: 10.1080/00420980500060178]