Ana Maria Vargas Falla


Research Areas

  • Regulation of Informal Workers
  • Law and Human Development
  • Social Norms and Citizenship Culture

Current Research

How do legal institutions influence the lives of informal workers? The research explores which alternative regulations can help empower informal workers so that they are able to improve their working conditions and ultimately their socio-economic situation.

Two cases will be studied: formalized street vendors and informal rickshaws (bike-taxis) in the city of Bogotá, Colombia. The aim is to explain the importance of finding alternative forms of regulation compared to the traditional formalization approach.

Contrary to the formalization approach, the preliminary conclusions of this research show how the law can play a coordinating role while informal regulation continues to operate.

The organizations of both vendors and rickshaw-drivers are the main actors and can continue to regulate the daily lives of these workers and their businesses, but the law can facilitate and guide their work. By interacting with these two organizations of workers and keeping a coordinating role, legal institutions are more effective in regulating the use of public space in Bogotá instead of trying to keep a detailed control of it, which often criminalizes these activities.

The results of this research contribute to the debate about the role of legal institutions in developing countries, where ideas about modernization have pushed formalization reforms that exclude the most vulnerable groups in society.

Recent research outputs

Ana Maria Vargas Falla, 2017 Jun 7, (Submitted) Congress of Italian Geographers.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceeding

Ana Maria Vargas Falla, 2017, Regulating for Equitable and Job-Rich Growth. Fenwick, C. & Van Goethem, V. (eds.). Geneva: Edward Elgar Publishing, p. 195-213

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter

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