Entrepreneurship and the Informal Economy: An Overview

Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, Vol. 15, No. 4, pp. 361-378 (2010)

18 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2013

See all articles by Colin Williams

Colin Williams

University of Sheffield - School of Management

Sara Nadin

University of Liverpool

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

In recent decades, the field of entrepreneurship studies has become increasingly interested in the relationship between entrepreneurship and the informal economy. This paper reviews this burgeoning sub-field of entrepreneurship studies that recognizes how entrepreneurs do not always conduct their business affairs wholly by the rulebook. Evaluating this rapidly growing body of literature, it reviews the findings regarding the preponderance of entrepreneurs to engage in the informal economy, the nature of such informal entrepreneurship, the characteristics of informal entrepreneurs and the motives underpinning participation in such endeavor, along with the competing theories that have sought to explain engagement in this type of entrepreneurship. The tentative finding is that there are marked socio-spatial variations in the prevalence and nature of informal entrepreneurship, the characteristics of informal entrepreneurs and their rationales. The implication is not only that different theorizations of informal entrepreneurship apply more in some populations than others but also that some populations usually seen as lacking in entrepreneurial spirit are perhaps more enterprising and entrepreneurial than currently recognized and consequently, that legitimizing this hidden enterprise culture could be an important means of promoting enterprise and economic development in such populations. The paper concludes by highlighting future avenues for research on this subject.

Keywords: informal economy, development economics, entrepreneurship, enterprise culture, informal entrepreneurship, informal economy

JEL Classification: O17, H26, H31, K42

Suggested Citation

Williams, Colin and Nadin, Sara, Entrepreneurship and the Informal Economy: An Overview (2010). Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, Vol. 15, No. 4, pp. 361-378 (2010), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2290544 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2290544

Colin Williams (Contact Author)

University of Sheffield - School of Management ( email )

15 Conduit Road
Sheffield, S10 1FL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/management/staff/williams/index

Sara Nadin

University of Liverpool ( email )

Chatham Street
Liverpool, L69 7ZH
United Kingdom

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