What is it about?

The aim of this paper is to evaluate four competing theoretical perspectives that explain cross-national variations in the level of informal sector entrepreneurship. Scholarship has until now argued that informal entrepreneurship is a result of either: economic under-development and a lack of modernization of governance (modernization theory); high taxes and state over-interference (neo-liberal theory); inadequate state intervention to protect workers from poverty (political economy theory) or the asymmetry between the laws and regulations of formal institutions and the unwritten socially shared rules of informal institutions (institutional theory).

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Why is it important?

Reporting the World Bank Enterprise Survey (WBES) on the varying prevalence of informal entrepreneurship across 142 countries, the finding is that neo-liberal theory is refuted but the tenets of the modernization, political economy and institutional theories are confirmed. Informal entrepreneurship is found to be significantly higher when there is economic under-development, a lack of modernization of governance, inadequate state intervention to protect workers from poverty and greater asymmetry between the formal and informal institutions. The paper concludes by discussing the theoretical and policy implications of these findings.


Explains the determinants of informal sector entrepreneurship

Professor Colin C Williams
University of Sheffield

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This page is a summary of: EXPLAINING CROSS-NATIONAL VARIATIONS IN THE PREVALENCE OF INFORMAL SECTOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP: LESSONS FROM A SURVEY OF 142 COUNTRIES, Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, March 2018, World Scientific Pub Co Pte Lt, DOI: 10.1142/s108494671850005x.
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