What is it about?

The aim of this paper is to evaluate critically four competing theories which variously explain informal sector entrepreneurship as a traditional activity that has not yet been incorporated into the modern system (modernization theory), a form of production integral to contemporary capitalism conducted by marginalized population groups as a survival strategy (structuralist theory), a voluntarily chosen endeavor and popular reaction to excessive regulation by the state (neo-liberal theory) or a voluntarily chosen practice conducted for social, redistributive, political resistance or identity reasons (post-structuralist theory).

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Why is it important?

Reporting the results of face-to-face interviews with 215 informal entrepreneurs in Zamfara, a tropical region in Nigeria, the finding is that no one theory is universally valid. Instead, each theory is valid in relation to different groups of entrepreneur and only by combining all of them can a finer-grained and more nuanced explanation of the complex and heterogeneous character of informal sector entrepreneurship be achieved.


Shows that one needs to synthesise existing theories to explain informal entrepreneurship

Professor Colin C Williams
University of Sheffield

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This page is a summary of: EVALUATING THEORIZATIONS OF INFORMAL SECTOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP: SOME LESSONS FROM ZAMFARA, NIGERIA, Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, December 2019, World Scientific Pub Co Pte Lt, DOI: 10.1142/s1084946719500225.
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