- Office Address
- Brattle - Suite 550-557
- Mailing Address
John F. Kennedy School of Government
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Martha Chen is a Lecturer in Public
Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, an Affiliated Professor at
the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and International
Coordinator of the global research-policy-action network Women in
Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO). An
experienced development practitioner and scholar, her areas of
specialization are employment, gender, and poverty with a focus on
the working poor in the informal economy. Before joining Harvard in
1987, she had two decades of resident experience in Bangladesh
working with BRAC (now the world's largest non-governmental
organization) and in India, where she served as field
representative of Oxfam America for India and Bangladesh. Marty
received a PhD in South Asia Regional Studies from the University
of Pennsylvania. She is the author and editor of numerous books
including Bridging Perspectives: Labour, Informal Employment,
and Poverty (co-edited with Namrata Bali and Ravi Kanbur), The
Progress of the World’s Women 2005: Women, Work and Poverty
(co-authored with Joann Vanek, Francie Lund, James Heintz, Renana
Jhabvala and Chris Bonner), Mainstreaming Informal Employment and
Gender in Poverty Reduction (co-authored with Marilyn Carr and
Joann Vanek), Women and Men in the Informal Economy: A Statistical
Picture (co-authored with Joann Vanek and others) and Perpetual
Mourning: Widowhood in Rural India. Dr. Chen was awarded a high
civilian award, the Padma Shri, by the Government of India in April
2011; and a Friends of Bangladesh Liberation War award by the
Government of Bangladesh in December 2012. At Harvard’s annual
India Conference on February 6, 2016, Marty was the chair of a
panel entitled “Empowering
Women at the Bottom of the Pyramid: To Overcome Gender Inequality
and Poverty in India.”
The Informal Economy: Is Formalization the Answer?
Martha Chen welcomes media inquiries on the following subjects:
Additional experts may be found by clicking on each subject listed. You may contact faculty directly or if you need assistance contact the Communications Office at 617-495-1115.
For a complete list of faculty citations from 2001 - present, please visit the HKS Faculty Research Connection.
Selected Publication Citations:
- Academic Journal/Scholarly Articles
Chen, Martha, Sally Roever, and Caroline Skinner. "Urban
Livelihoods: Reviewing the Evidence in Support of the New Urban
Agenda." Environment and Urbanization Brief No. 34 (November
Chen, Martha, Sally Roever, and Caroline Skinner. "Editorial: Urban
Livelihoods: Reframing Theory and Policy." Environment and
Urbanization 28.2 (September 2016): 1-12.
Chen, Martha and Shalini Sinha. "Home-Based Workers and Cities."
Environment and Urbanization 28.2 (September 2016): 343-358.
Chen, Martha. "Technology, Informal Workers and Cities: Insights
from Ahmedabad (India), Durban (South Africa) and Lima (Peru)."
Environment and Urbanization 28.2 (September 2016): 405-422.
Chen, Martha. "The Informal Economy: Recent Trends, Future
Directions." New Solutions 26 (August 2016): 2.
Carr, Marilyn, Martha Alter Chen, and Jane Tate. "Globalization and
Home-Based Workers." Feminist Economics 6.3 (December 2010):
Chen, Martha. "Informality and Social Protection: Theories and
Realities." IDS Bulletin 39.2 (May 2008): 18-27.
Chen, Martha. "Women and Informality: A Global Picture, the Global
Movement." SAIS Review 21.1 (Winter-Spring 2001): 71-82.
Chen, Martha, Jennefer Sebstad, and Lesley O'Connell. "Counting the
Invisible Workforce: The Case of Homebased Workers." World
Development 27.3 (March 1999): 603-610.
- Book Chapters
Chen, Martha, and Caroline Skinner. "The Urban Informal Economy:
Enhanced Knowledge, Appropriate Policies and Effective
Organization." The Routledge Handbook on Cities of the Global
South. Ed. Susan Parnell, and Sophie Oldfield. Routledge, 2014.
Chen, Martha. "The Informal Economy in Comparative Perspective."
A Handbook of Economic Anthropology. Ed. James G. Carrier.
Edward Elgar Pub, 2014.
Chen, Martha. "The Self-Employed Women’s Association." Social
Movements II: Concerns of Equity and Security. Ed. T. K.
Oommen. Oxford University Press, December 2009.
Chen, Martha. "Informal Economies." International Encyclopedia
of Organization Studies. Ed. Stewart Clegg and James R. Bailey.
Chen, Martha and G. Raveendran. Urban India 2011: Evidence.
Indian Institute for Human Settlements, 2011.
- Magazine and Newspaper Articles
Chen, Martha. "First Take: Waste -- Global Challenge, Latin
American Lessons." ReVista: The Harvard Review of Latin
America. Winter 2015.
Fernández, Lucía, and Martha Chen. "Recycling Livelihoods: A Global
Network Supports Waste Pickers in Latin America." ReVista:
Harvard Review of Latin America. Winter 2015.
- Research Papers/Reports
Chen, Martha. "Expanding the Economic Potential of Women Informal
Workers." Secretariat, UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on
Women’s Economic Empowerment, December 2016.
von Broembsen, Marlese, and Martha Chen. "Eliminating Legal
Barriers from the Perspective of the Informal Economy."
Secretariat, UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s
Economic Empowerment, September 2016.
Klugman, Jeni, Laura Tyson, and Panel and Deputy Panel Members of
UN High Level Panel on Women's Economic Empowerment (including
Martha Chen). "Leave No One Behind: A Call to Action for Gender
Equality and Women's Economic Empowerment." Secretariat, UN
Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic
Empowerment, September 2016.
Chen, Martha. "The Urban Informal Economy: Towards More Inclusive
Cities." Urbanet, August 2016.
Vanek, Joann, Martha Chen, and Govindan Raveendran. "A Guide to
Obtaining Data on Types of Informal Workers in Official
Statistics." WIEGO Statistical Brief No. 8, May 2015.
Chen, Martha. "Statistics on the Informal Economy: Definitions,
Regional Estimates & Challenges." WIEGO Working Paper
(Statistics) No. 2, April 2014.
Chen, Martha, and Govindan Raveendran. "Urban Employment in India:
Recent Trends and Patterns." WIEGO Working Paper No. 7, January
Bali, Namrata, Kaushik Basu, Suman Bery, Haroon Bhorat, Françoise
Carré, Martha Chen, Gary Fields, Ravi Kanbur, Santiago Levy,
Francie Lund, Jeemol Unni and Imraan Valodia. "Informal Sector and
Social Policy: Compendium of Personal and Technical Reflections.
Cornell-SEWA-WIEGO Exposure and Dialogue Program." WIEGO, March
Chen, Martha, and Donna Doane. "Informality in South Asia: A
Review." WIEGO Working Paper No. 4, September 2008.