What is it about?

Informal entrepreneurs have been viewed variously as reluctant participants in such endeavors doing so out of economic necessity because of their exclusion from formal work and welfare (structuralist theory), or as willing entrepreneurs who voluntarily exit the formal economy either as a rational economic decision (neo-liberal theory) or as social actors who do not agree with the formal rules and regulations of the state (neo-institutional theory). The aim of this paper is to evaluate these competing theorizations of entrepreneurs’ motives for participating in the informal sector.

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Why is it important?

Reporting evidence from a 2019 Eurobarometer survey involving 27,565 face-to-face interviews in 28 European countries, the finding is that five percent are reluctant participants, twenty percent are willing participants doing so as a rational economic decision, 21 percent are willing participants doing so because of their disagreement with the rules and 54 percent do so for a mixture of these motives. A logistic regression analysis reveals who is more likely to engage in informal entrepreneurship and who is significantly more likely to do so for each motive. The theoretical and policy implications are then discussed


Shows that not all entrepreneurs operating in the informal economy do so reluctantly and that many do so willingly.

Professor Colin C Williams
University of Sheffield

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This page is a summary of: EVALUATING ENTREPRENEURS’ MOTIVES FOR PARTICIPATING IN THE INFORMAL SECTOR IN EUROPE, Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, March 2021, World Scientific Pub Co Pte Lt, DOI: 10.1142/s1084946721500023.
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