Re-Thinking Informal Entrepreneurship: Commercial or Social Entrepreneurs?
International Journal of Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Vol. 1, No. 3, 2012, pp. 295-309
15 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2015
Date Written: 2012
This paper evaluates critically the assumption that entrepreneurs who start-up their business ventures operating wholly or partially off-the-books are engaged in commercial entrepreneurship. Reporting evidence from a 2005-2006 survey involving face-to-face interviews with 298 informal entrepreneurs in Ukraine, the finding is that they are not all commercially-driven. Instead, these informal entrepreneurs range from purely rational economic actors who pursue for-profit logics through to purely social entrepreneurs who pursue solely social logics, with the majority somewhere in the middle of this spectrum combining both for-profit and social rationales. The result is a call for a more nuanced understanding of the heterogeneous logics of informal entrepreneurs that recognises the existence of social entrepreneurs in the realm of informal entrepreneurship.
Keywords: informal sector, shadow economy, hidden economy, underground economy, commercial entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, enterprise culture, post-socialist economies, Ukraine
JEL Classification: H26, J46, K42, O17
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