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Gender variations in the reasons for engaging in informal sector entrepreneurship: some lessons from urban Brazil

Colin Williams, Kwame Adom (), Sara Nadin and Youssef A. Youssef

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2012, vol. 17, issue 4, 478-494

Abstract: To evaluate whether entrepreneurs participate in the informal economy due to either their involuntary 'exclusion' from, or voluntary 'exit' from, the formal economy, a 2003 survey of the reasons for engaging in informal sector entrepreneurship in urban Brazil. The finding is that although similar proportions participate in informal sector entrepreneurship for exclusion as exit rationales, women do so more commonly due to their involuntary 'exclusion' from the formal economy and men more due to their decision to voluntary 'exit' the formal economy. The outcome is a call to shift from an either/or to a both/and approach when explaining informal sector entrepreneurship and for wider research on the weightings attached to exit and exclusion in different spatial contexts so as to develop a spatially contingent explanation of how men's and women's reasons for participating in informal sector entrepreneurship differ across the globe.

Keywords: micro-enterprises; micro-businesses; micro-firms; micro-companies; enterprise cultures; underground economies; shadow economies; Brazil; gender variations; informal economies; urban areas; cities; involuntary exclusion; voluntary exits; formal economies; exit rationales; men; women; spatial contexts; spatially contingent explanations; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; entrepreneurs; informal sector entrepreneurship. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ids:ijesbu:v:17:y:2012:i:4:p:478-494