American University of Beirut

Exploring the dimensions and factors influencing refugees’ participation in the informal economy: The case of refugees from Syria in Lebanon and Jordan

​​​Working Paper

Nabil Abdo, Independent Researcher
Rabih Jamil, Independ​ent Researcher​

Refugee Research and Policy Program, February 2020


​This paper attempts to examine different dimensions and factors influencing refugees’ participation in the informal economy as a means of securing their livelihoods, taking into consideration the Lebanese and Jordanian contexts. In doing so, it critically explores concepts widely used in studies on refugees from Syria and informs interventions targeting refugees in both Jordan and Lebanon. These concepts include resilience, livelihoods, adaptation, legality, and others. The paper proposes and adopts the political economy of informality as its conceptual framework, which will be framing the overall analysis. Moreover, it provides a critical analysis to the policy context that is governing the living and working conditions of refugees from Syria in both Lebanon and Jordan. This paper intends to help national researchers to critically perceive and understand concepts such as resilience, adaptation, livelihoods and informality.​

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