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Does Social Pressure Hinder Entrepreneurship in Africa? The Forced Mutual Help Hypothesis

Philippe Alby (), Emmanuelle Auriol () and Pierre Nguimkeu

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Abstract: In the absence of a public safety net, wealthy Africans have the social obligation to share their re- sources with their needy relatives in the form of cash transfers and inefficient family hiring. We develop a model of entrepreneurial choice that accounts for this social redistributive constraint. We derive pre- dictions regarding employment choices, productivity, and profitability of firms ran by entrepreneurs of African versus non-African origin. Everything else equal, local firms are over-staffed and less productive than firms owned by nonlocals, which discourages local entrepreneurship. Using data from the manu- facturing sector, we illustrate the theory by structurally estimating the proportion of missing African entrepreneurs. Our estimates, which are suggestive due to the data limitation, vary between 8% and 12.6% of the formal sector workforce. Implications for the role of social protection are discussed.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Family Solidarity; Formal Sector; Africa (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-afr and nep-fdg
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Published in Economica, 2020, 87 (346), pp.299-327

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Journal Article: Does Social Pressure Hinder Entrepreneurship in Africa? The Forced Mutual Help Hypothesis (2020) Downloads
Working Paper: Does Social Pressure Hinder Entrepreneurship in Africa? The Forced Mutual Help Hypothesis (2018) Downloads
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