Emerging trends in the use of technology as a driver of the transition to formality: Experiences from Asia and the Pacific

Informality trends across labour markets are likely to be affected by the rising diffusion of technology in many ways. On the one hand, there are apprehensions concerning the risks of job losses due to increasing automation of production processes and also fears of increasing technology driven incidences of informal jobs in the formal sector as crowdwork continues to spread. On the other hand, governments are keen to reap development dividends, courtesy of technological advancements. The subject matter of this paper concerns the latter. One way in which technology can aid the transition to formality is by amplifying the impact of policies aimed at driving such transitions. New technologies are therefore being increasingly integrated into public policies, plans, and programmes that are either directly aimed at or indirectly contribute towards driving the transition to formality. This working paper examines such “e-formality” approaches in the Asia Pacific region. It provides an inventory of current of public initiatives, programmes, and policies that have incorporated the use of technology and have either directly or indirectly become vehicles for increased formalization or the transition towards it.