Evaluating Competing Theories of Street Entrepreneurship: Some Lessons from a Study of Street Vendors in Bangalore, India

International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Vol. 8, No. 4, 2012, pp. 391-409.

21 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2015

See all articles by Colin Williams

Colin Williams

University of Sheffield - School of Management

Anjula Gurtoo

Indian Institute of Science

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

Conventionally, street entrepreneurs were either seen as a residue from a premodern era that is gradually disappearing (modernisation theory), or an endeavour into which marginalised populations are driven out of necessity in the absence of alternative ways of securing a livelihood (structuralist theory). In recent years, however, participation in street entrepreneurship has been re-read either as a rational economic choice (neoliberal theory) or as conducted for cultural reasons (post-modern theory). The aimof this paper is to evaluate critically these competing explanations for participation in street entrepreneurship. To do this, face-to-face interviews were conducted with 871 street entrepreneurs in the Indian city of Bangalore during 2010 concerning their reasons for participation in street entrepreneurship. The finding is that no one explanation suffices. Some 12% explain their participation in street entrepreneurship as necessity-driven, 15% as traditional ancestral activity, 56% as a rational economic choice and 17% as pursued for social or lifestyle reasons. The outcome is a call to combine these previously rival explanations in order to develop a richer and more nuanced theorisation of the multifarious motives for street entrepreneurship in emerging market economies.

Keywords: Street hawking, Street vendors, Entrepreneurship, Enterprise development, Informal economy, Economic development, Developing economies, India

JEL Classification: H26, J46, K42, O17

Suggested Citation

Williams, Colin and Gurtoo, Anjula, Evaluating Competing Theories of Street Entrepreneurship: Some Lessons from a Study of Street Vendors in Bangalore, India (2012). International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Vol. 8, No. 4, 2012, pp. 391-409., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2706144

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

Anjula Gurtoo

Indian Institute of Science ( email )

Bangalore, IN Karnataka 560012
India

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