Reconsidering Social Protection for Motorcycle Taxi Drivers: Understanding Precarity in Formalized Informality


  • Kritsada Theerakosonphong Faculty of Arts, Silpakorn University


Social protection, Motorcycle taxi drivers, Formalized informality, Precarity, Ride-hailing applications (apps)


This article's central argument is that as a consequence of ride-hailing applications (apps), formalized informality has emerged among motorcycle taxi drivers (MTDs). The aim is to provide preliminary recommendations for reconsidering social protection (SP) for MTDs. Platformization and practices of precarising formality through formal-informal interaction are reviewed, as well as employment status and other different forms of employment. MTDs are unevenly matched in power relations dominated by the government and non-government officials, insecurity and uncertainty related to job precarity results. Several critical SP issues are discussed including: the distinction between formality and informality and the related inability to divide the two economies, insofar as formality merges with informality through what may be termed formalized informality; in addition, the nature of society dependent on precariousness, through new groups of structural vulnerability in the informal economy due to novel digital platform production; and finally, employment forms; including standard and non-standard work. These pose barriers to formalization approaches, leading to the impossibility of designing a single standard SP system for the future of such work.


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How to Cite

Theerakosonphong, Kritsada. 2022. “Reconsidering Social Protection for Motorcycle Taxi Drivers: Understanding Precarity in Formalized Informality”. ASIAN REVIEW 35 (1):19-43.



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