The informal economy consists of business activities that occur outside of formal institutional boundaries but within the boundaries of informal institutions. A large gap exists between the significant importance of the informal economy to commerce around the world and the small amount of informal economy research with which entrepreneurship and strategic management scholars have been involved. As a step toward filling this gap, this special issue includes four articles with the potential to significantly advance our understanding of business activities within the informal economy. In introducing these four articles, we discuss the myriad activities that fall within the boundaries of the informal economy and distinguish between the institutional foundations of informality in developed versus developing economies. The articles included within the special issue each offer a unique understanding of how entrepreneurs are influenced by and manage their institutional contexts in various informal economy settings, providing contributions that should give rise to a series of promising future research questions. Copyright © 2014 Strategic Management Society.