Article

A Study of Small Neighborhood Tienditas in Central America

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Abstract

We describe and benchmark tienditas (in-home convenience-like retail stores) and the tiendita business sector using a large sample of 850 tienditas from Nicaragua and El Salvador. Three research questions concerning tiendita business dynamism, informality, and competitive scope shape our article. In general, we find that tienditas may range from subsistence operations to dynamic business enterprises primarily run by female microentrepreneurs; they typically skirt government oversight; and they compete fiercely in a monopolistically competitive business environment. Este artículo describe y compara tienditas (tiendas de barrio que funcionan dentro de la casa) y el sector empresarial de tienditas, utilizando una gran muestra de 850 tienditas de Nicaragua y El Salvador. Este trabajo plantea tres preguntas investigativas sobre el dinamismo empresarial de tienditas, la informalidad y el alcance competitivo. Por lo general, encontramos que la existencia de las tienditas varía tanto para la subsistencia como para empresas de negocios dinámicos dirigidas principalmente por mujeres micro-empresarias, las tienditas esquivan la supervisión del gobierno y las tienditas compiten ferozmente en un entorno empresarial de competencia monopolística.

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... 10 In Mexico and some parts of Central America, these small CS are called "tienditas" or "misceláneas," are usually family owned, and are mainly run by the women in the households. 11 By definition, "tienditas" are CS that provide rapid access to essential products such as food staples (tortillas, rice, beans, eggs, bread, sugar, vegetables, canned foods), toiletries (soap, detergents, toothpaste, toilet paper), processed foods (PF; candy, chips, cookies), and some sell other items such as school supplies. 11 Studies addressing the association between FE and obesity have shown contrasting results among ethnicities, age groups, areas (urban vs rural), and countries. ...
... 11 By definition, "tienditas" are CS that provide rapid access to essential products such as food staples (tortillas, rice, beans, eggs, bread, sugar, vegetables, canned foods), toiletries (soap, detergents, toothpaste, toilet paper), processed foods (PF; candy, chips, cookies), and some sell other items such as school supplies. 11 Studies addressing the association between FE and obesity have shown contrasting results among ethnicities, age groups, areas (urban vs rural), and countries. 9,[12][13][14][15][16][17] For instance, proximity to supermarkets in Indiana, United States, has been associated with a healthier diet and negatively associated with overweight and obesity in children and adolescents (3-18 years). ...
... 18 In rural settings from developing countries, most families get their food from CS and it is common for children to play a role in household food purchasing. 11 Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) provides a reliable and objective measurement on FE. 19 A large list of proxies have been used to evaluate FE, such as the stores within a given radius, the proximity to the nearest food store, and the shelf-length of highly PF and non-PF. 20 A major challenge is to identify proxies that better represent FE and that consider social, racial, physical, and age-related factors in a community or an individual. ...
Article
Background Food environment (FE) has been linked to obesity in urban areas, but there is limited information in rural areas, particularly in developing countries, where prevalence of obesity is high. Objective To determine the association between FE and childhood obesity using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Methods A total of 218 (8-10 years) children participated in a cross-sectional study. Weight, height, and body fat were measured. Geolocation of convenience stores (CS) and participants’ households was collected, and the amount of processed food (PF) in the stores was measured. The proximity to the nearest CS and the number of CS within a 250-m buffer from each participant’s household was calculated using GIS. Linear regression models between obesity measurements and FE were performed. Results The combined prevalence of overweight and obesity was 32%. A total of 91% of the children had access to a CS within 250 m. On average, 48% of the shelf-space of the CS were occupied with PF. A positive association between the density of CS with body fat % (β = .145; 95% CI, 0.048-0.241, P = .004), abdominal fat % (β = .206; 95% CI, 0.048-0.241, P = .003), and body mass index (BMI)-for-age z-score (BMIz; β = .028; 95% CI, 0.005-0.062, P = .005) was found. Living closer to CS was associated with increases in body fat % (β = −0.009; 95% CI, −0.017 to −0.001, P = 0.025), abdominal fat % (β = −0.012; 95% CI, −0.023 to −0.001, P = 0.033), and BMIz (β = −0.002, 95% CI, −0.004 to −0.001, P = 0.003). Conclusion In a rural community in Mexico, a high density and low proximity to CS is associated with obesity in school-aged children.
... Las tiendas de abarrotes o tiendas de la esquina son las principales representantes del canal tradicional de comercio minorista. La superficie que abarca este tipo de establecimientos puede variar entre 20 y 50 metros cuadrados (Bocanegra y Vázquez, 2003;Pisani y Yoskowitz, 2012;GS1 México, 2012). A pesar del crecimiento experimentado por el canal moderno, el tradicional se ha caracterizado por concentrar el mayor número de comercios, en 2017 fueron cerca de 1,000,000 de tiendas de abarrotes en el país (Inegi, 2018). ...
... Las tiendas de abarrotes tienen como función principal el suministro de alimentos básicos como: arroz, frijoles, huevos, lácteos, embutidos, aceite de cocina, azúcar, algunos vegetales (tomate, cebolla, papa, ajo), algunas frutas (plátanos), pan y galletas, refrescos o bebidas gaseosas, botanas, dulces, enlatados, productos de higiene personal, productos de limpieza, y otros. Estos establecimientos representan una alternativa de consumo para la población que cuenta con un ingreso diario mínimo o para quienes pierden su empleo formal y no tienen la capacidad económica para hacer compras semanales o quincenales en un supermercado (Bocanegra y Vázquez, 2003;Pisani y Yoskowitz, 2012;GS1 México, 2012). ...
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A inicios de 2020 es usual encontrar referencias literarias formuladas desde el ámbito político y académico en las cuales se hace hincapié en las responsabilidades ambientales a las que actualmente se debe hacer frente ante la imperante necesidad de contar con ciudades sustentables, sin embargo, habrá que cuestionar si el complejo sistema urbano en el que habitamos coincide con la viabilidad que se ambiciosa. En este sentido, la obra Ciudad y sustentabilidad. Estructura Urbana integra diversas investigaciones longitudinales y transversales con las que se pone en evidencia el pasado, evolución y funcionamiento actual de distintas ciudades mexicanas. Con ellas se hará evidente una pluralidad de abordajes teóricos y metodológicos implementados para el estudio de la estructura urbana, mismos que resultan tan diversos como complicadas y cambiantes resultan las urbes, pero será justamente dicha heterogeneidad, suministrada por cada uno de los autores implicados en la realización de este libro colaborativo la que contribuirá a una comprensión amplia del funcionamiento de nuestras ciudades –tanto en su dimensión ambiental, espacial, social, económica e histórica-, ofreciendo al lector los insumos para un mejor entendimiento de ciudades no metropolitanas, enfocándonos en ellas dado que su protagonismo en el desarrollo urbano de México se ha tornado más significativo desde finales del siglo XX. Así, invitamos a recorrer las páginas de este libro en busca de las características formales, funcionales y organizativas del espacio urbano, mismas que sin lugar a dudas resultaran clave para aproximarnos a la planeación de ciudades más sustentables.
... Las tiendas de abarrotes o tiendas de la esquina son las principales representantes del canal tradicional de comercio minorista. La superficie que abarca este tipo de establecimientos puede variar entre 20 y 50 metros cuadrados (Bocanegra y Vázquez, 2003;Pisani y Yoskowitz, 2012;GS1 México, 2012). A pesar del crecimiento experimentado por el canal moderno, el tradicional se ha caracterizado por concentrar el mayor número de comercios, en 2017 fueron cerca de 1,000,000 de tiendas de abarrotes en el país (Inegi, 2018). ...
... Las tiendas de abarrotes tienen como función principal el suministro de alimentos básicos como: arroz, frijoles, huevos, lácteos, embutidos, aceite de cocina, azúcar, algunos vegetales (tomate, cebolla, papa, ajo), algunas frutas (plátanos), pan y galletas, refrescos o bebidas gaseosas, botanas, dulces, enlatados, productos de higiene personal, productos de limpieza, y otros. Estos establecimientos representan una alternativa de consumo para la población que cuenta con un ingreso diario mínimo o para quienes pierden su empleo formal y no tienen la capacidad económica para hacer compras semanales o quincenales en un supermercado (Bocanegra y Vázquez, 2003;Pisani y Yoskowitz, 2012;GS1 México, 2012). ...
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El texto explora la accesibilidad física a alimentos de los habitantes urbanos menos favorecidos e identifica oportunidades para el combate a la inseguridad alimentaria. El objetivo del trabajo fue identificar la presencia de desiertos alimentarios al interior de la ciudad de Mexicali, Baja California, a partir de explorar la cobertura del comercio minorista de alimentos.
... Notwithstanding the growth in publications surrounding female entrepreneurship over the past 30 years or so, there are still gaps in knowledge especially in regard to female entrepreneurship in emerging market contexts. Female entrepreneurship and associated gender roles in developing and emerging markets may be heavily influenced and conditioned by culture in the form of "local traditions and norms" (Welter, 2017, p. 166) and enterprise location, such as home-based businesses (Pisani & Yoskowitz, 2012). ...
... At startup, the results indicate a much higher likelihood of informal origin for female-owned Nicaraguan enterprises. This may reflect a period of transition and uncertainty, at times culturally nuanced, to ease into the business sector in face of gendered and often chauvinist challenges from society (Pisani & Yoskowitz, 2012). In turn, this may limit the initial size of female-owned businesses as per the number of fulltime employees in order to reduce visibility in the community. ...
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Women are important entrepreneurial actors within the Nicaraguan economic ecosystem. Majority fe- male-owned firms comprise 32.7% of all urban Nicaraguan formal enterprises; these ownership rates far exceed the regional (21.8%) or global averages (14.5%). Within Nicaragua, self-employment rates for women (43.3%) surpass that of men (28.3%). This article describes the contemporary Nicaraguan entrepreneurial landscape for female-owned enterprises using the 2016 Nicaraguan Enterprise Survey of 333 formal sector urban-based firms conducted by the World Bank. Principal multivariate results include the concentration of female top management with majority female-ownership, the role of the informal sector in spawning formal female enterprises, and size constraints of female-owned enterprises. JEL: J16·L26·N16
... For example, the retail market for household food consumption in Central America pits formal supermarkets against very small primarily female-owned informal home-based convenience stores (known locally as tienditas). 2 In the region, there is a low level of rivalry between supermarkets and tienditas because supermarkets clearly outperform tienditas based upon the value-added of product price, selection, and quality (D'Haese, Van den Berg, & Speelman, 2008). Supermarkets primarily serve the middle and upper classes as the relatively affluent have the ability-time, means, and transportation-to shop at supermarkets (Pisani & Yoskowitz, 2012). The retail environment for household food is not rare, but certainly it is difficult to imitate the retail footprint (organization) of supermarkets. ...
... policy choice of government to maintain the status quo, or to foster informal or formal firms where it is difficult to promote the needs of both simultaneously. 1 Hart's work originated from his observations in Ghana, for a more recent update of the Ghanaian experience with a focus on housing, see Obeng-Odoom (2011). 2 This discussion is based upon my study of tienditas in Central America (see Pisani & Yoskowitz, 2012). 3 The data is housed at http://microdata.worldbank.org/index.php/catalog/871 and was released for non-WB purposed research in February 2013. ...
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Utilizing the 2010 Nicaraguan Enterprise Survey undertaken by the World Bank, I explore the impact of informal sector firm competition upon focal formal sector firms. The impact upon focal formal firms in relation to informal competitive pressures are influenced by firm maturity, firm location, industry sector, firm legal status, perceptions of informality, firm informal heritage, senior level managerial time spent dealing with the governmental regulatory environment, international quality certification, and web presence. Focal formal sector firm competition with registered firms acting in part informally is also explored.
... However, there are occasions in Central America when the informal sector maximizes one's economic returns depending upon the larger socio-political environment (Pisani & Pagán, 2004). Pisani (2017Pisani ( , 2016 and Pisani and Yoskowitz (2012) describe the impact and opportunities of informality upon small in-home convenience stores or tienditas in Central America. This line of investigation is limited to one, albeit vary large, business segment of a primarily informal endeavor. ...
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This research explores the competitive environment for urban formal sector firms competing against peer formal sector firms behaving informally in Central America. Explored is the upper bound of the formal-informal continuum in a regional economic environment of persistent and widespread economic informality where formal firms may employ informal tactics to gain competitive advantage versus their formal competitors. The 2010 World Bank Enterprise Surveys form the basis for empirical analyses. The results suggest formal firms utilizing informal practices is widespread and is influenced by firm maturity, firm location, industry sector, firm legal status, firm organization, ownership composition, regulatory environment, international quality certification, web presence, entry into global markets, and firm size.
... Second, buying conditions are less favorable for independent stores, with smaller economies of scale (Hervert-Escobar et al., 2017;Wenzel, 2011). As such many independent stores charge higher prices than competitors belonging to larger retail chains (Clarke & Banga, 2010;Pisani & Yoskowitz, 2012;Hervert-Escobar, Esquivel-Flores, & Ramirez-Velarde, 2017;Zairis & Evangelos, 2014). At the same time small independent stores usually have narrow, relatively standard assortments (Zairis & Evangelos, 2014) leading to previous research ...
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Independent store managers—who constitute a substantial portion of the retailing sector—often have limited resources with which to practice the formalized, data-driven pricing processes prescribed in the literature. On that basis, this article addresses how independent convenience store managers arrive at prices and whether their practices are effective. To begin with, 33 interviews with independent convenience store managers identified six common beliefs and ten practices underlying managers' intuitive decision making. Based on point-of-sale survey data from 1,504 customers of two c-store chains at petrol stations, a second study compared market-oriented managerial beliefs with actual customer price perceptions and buying behaviors. The combined insights from these studies reveal that managers base their pricing decisions on beliefs that are only partially accurate and suggests how managers might benefit by altering their price-setting practices.
... Little by little, supermarkets are expanding from large to medium cities, and from high-income neighborhood to spread low-income ones (Reardon et al., 2003). Nevertheless, small convenience stores still play a relevant role (Pisani and Yoskowitz, 2012). This change on food supply market structure is likely to be reflected on purchase behavior and diet-related outcomes. ...
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to explore fruit and vegetable (FV) procurement disparity across income groups. Design/methodology/approach This study uses mean comparison and quintile regression to explain FVs variations. Findings Households from the highest income quantile spend more than two times on FVs than households from the lowest quantile; however, this expenditure disparity is largely mitigated in terms of purchase quantity. This paper presents evidence that, rather than quantity discounts or income neighborhood, the type of store (traditional markets vs supermarkets) plays a relevant role in explaining the smaller gap in terms of purchase quantity. Research limitations/implications Traditional markets help low-income households access low-cost FVs. Social implications The authors generate evidence to show that traditional markets play a relevant role to supply affordable FV to low-income households. Originality/value The paper used a high-quality and uncommon data set. It is a topic of high social impact.
... Hence, San Salvador serves as a primary starting point for firms that eventually move or graduate from the informal to the formal sector. It is also much more difficult to remain hidden from government oversight in El Salvador the larger a firm becomes (Gelb et al., 2009;Pisani and Yoskowitz, 2012). This is indicated by the number of employees where smaller business concerns are less likely to graduate from informal to formal sectoral environments. ...
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... Today it is difficult for Western consumers to avoid entering one of their stores in order to purchase part or virtually all of the food products they need to meet their household needs. Supermarkets have progressively marginalized small neighborhood grocery stores through different strategies: low pricing policies, in some cases below cost price (unfair competition); promotional campaigns; an extremely diverse offering of product brands made possible by the large size of their outlets; psychological strategies to shape consumer habits; and access to market research; etc. (Fjelda and Sommera 1982;Pisani and Yoskowitz 2012;Ronald, William and Harper 1967;Wood 2007). One contributing factor is the lesser time available for reproductive work in households; supermarkets seem to save precious time by concentrating in the same location all the household products consumed on a daily basis (Macías Huerta and Valdivia Preciado 2003;Moisio, Arnould and Price 2004). ...
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... A study from the International Labor Organization (ILO, 2013) indicated that SMEs in services generated at least 50% of total employment in all Latin American countries studied. They are also critical for generating greater business opportunities and economic survival that provides stable income for women in Latin American economies (Pisani and Yoskowitz, 2012). ...
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... Interviews followed a structured interview guide, adapted from previous field research conducted in Central America (Pisani & Yoskowitz, 2012, containing 85 questions focused in 3 sections: 1) the business and one's work in the business; 2) loan information; and 3) demographics, both respondent and household. On average the interviews lasted between 1 and 2 hours and typically included a brief tour of the microbusiness. ...
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This article proposes a framework for the analysis of social classes in Latin America and presents evidence on the composition of the class structure in the region and its evolution during the last two decades, corresponding to the years of implementation of a new economic model in most countries. The paper is an update of an earlier article on the same topic published in this journal at the end of the period of import substitution industrialization. Relative to that earlier period, the present era registers a visible increase in income inequality, a persistent concentration of wealth in the top decile of the population, a rapid expansion of the class of micro-entrepreneurs, and a stagnation or increase of the informal proletariat. The contraction of public sector employment and the stagnation of formal sector labor demand in most countries have led to a series of adaptive solutions by the middle and lower classes. The rise of informal self-employment and micro-entrepreneurialism throughout the region can be interpreted as a direct result of the new adjustment policies. We explore other, less orthodox adaptive strategies, including the rise of violent crime in the cities and migration abroad by an increasingly diversified cross-section of the population. The impact that changes in the class structure have had on party politics and other forms of popular political mobilization in Latin American countries is discussed.
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This article examines gender struggles surrounding two women's collectives in a Sandinista village as a way to illuminate microprocesses of gender transformation during the Sandinista period and its aftermath. It argues for an analytical approach sensitive to the specificity of gender relations in particular contexts and the ways these were affected by state policies. It demonstrates that men's opposition to women's participation was enabled by ambiguities in Sandinista gender ideology that allowed men to interpret the meanings of revolutionary masculinity in their own terms. By examining these ambiguities, the article shows that, while the revolution failed to dismantle structures of gender inequality, as critics have pointed out, its incorporation of women as class and national subjects into the nation-building project could destabilize local patriarchies.
Article
In this paper we address the impact, viability, and efficacy of microfinance on Pulperías (in-home convenience stores), a sector that comprises up to one-third of the microfinance loan market in Central America, in a single research locale. Numerous and extensive in-person surveying (N=279) provides a rich dataset. The results suggest that puplerías that receive no microfinance support (or outside support of any kind) perform better with regards to income and are not statistically different from their MFI-supported counterparts with regards to household well-being. Perhaps the greatest achievement of microfinance for the Pulperías in our study is the movement away from itinerant and unstable unskilled wage earnings to a more stable and higher end income stream connected with pulpería ownership.
Article
This paper explores small‐scale and primarily informal entrepreneurship through the lens of self‐employed home gardeners in South Texas. Though the study site of Laredo, Texas lies within the southwestern border area of the United States, South Texas is best characterized by: the underdevelopment of basic infrastructure (e.g., physical, educational, and social), the inadequate development of human resources and income, and the degraded environment. Nonetheless, self‐employed gardeners have improved their life chances, in spite of the region's challenges, earning 1.7 times the legal minimum wage. Additional results based on the survey of one‐hundred (100) self‐employed gardeners reveal a nearly even split between full‐time and part‐time employment, the importance of the border and the proximity of Mexico to the supply and informality of gardeners, and the ease of market entry into the gardening profession. Four propositions for further research for border entrepreneurship and informality are offered.
Article
This article attempts an assessment of entrepreneurial contributions to the solution of some of the objectives of central economic development planning—contributions which are ignored by planners for reasons that are described in this social anthropological study of one aspect of economic development in Ghana.The author wishes to express his gratitude to the Managers of the Smuts’ Memorial Fund for providing much of his financial backing during field‐work; also to the Ling Roth fund, the Anthony Wilkin fund, the Bartle Frere Fund, the Mary Euphrasia Mosley fund, the West African Research Unit, and the Warmington fund. He held a Department of Education and Science studentship during the years 1965–68.The author also wishes to thank Jack Goody, Esther Goody, Enid Schild‐Krout and Jeremy Eades for discussing a preliminary draft of this paper; and Marion Pearsall for comments on later versions; Richard Cornes and Mike Faber have also been most helpful. Responsibility for the final draft is entirely his own.
Article
In this article we explore the similarities and differences between native-owned and foreign-owned (primarily Nicaraguan) small- and microenterprises in Costa Rica. Utilizing a 2005 sample of 327 firms from the central highlands and the Caribbean coast, we found similarities in the level of business informality, firm size, and length of business operation. Significant differences exist regarding business atmosphere and job satisfaction. Important distinctions are also found in business income, business value, and business financing. Income gaps between native- and foreign-born entrepreneurs may be the result of a liability of foreignness in the marketplace.
Article
This article originated in the study of one Northern Ghanaian group, the Frafras, as migrants to the urban areas of Southern Ghana. It describes the economic activities of the low-income section of the labour force in Accra, the urban sub-proletariat into which the unskilled and illiterate majority of Frafra migrants are drawn. Price inflation, inadequate wages, and an increasing surplus to the requirements of the urban labour market have led to a high degree of informality in the income-generating activities of the sub-proletariat. Consequently income and expenditure patterns are more complex than is normally allowed for in the economic analysis of poor countries. Government planning and the effective application of economic theory in this sphere has been impeded by the unthinking transfer of western categories to the economic and social structures of African cities. The question to be answered is this: Does the ‘reserve army of urban unemployed and underemployed’ really constitute a passive, exploited majority in cities like Accra, or do their informal economic activities possess some autonomous capacity for generating growth in the incomes of the urban (and rural) poor?
Purpose – Guidance from successful individuals can be valuable to prospective and nascent entrepreneurs, as well as writers and instructors in the field. This paper seeks to confirm contemporary entrepreneurship concepts, examine current perceptions, and expand the knowledge base by exploring established entrepreneurship perceptions through first-hand accounts of successful small business owners. Design/methodology/approach – This qualitative research study summarizes and analyzes interviews with 149 established entrepreneurs and small business owners regarding their perceptions on the advantages and disadvantages of their endeavors, and on providing advice to prospective new venture creators. Findings – The research revealed that entrepreneurs enjoy the independence, freedom, job satisfaction, and money, but believe the long hours, stress, responsibility, risk, and lack of company benefits are drawbacks of entrepreneurial activity. The findings largely support previous research in the field, while clarifying some of the positive and negative consequences and reporting insightful recommendations. Overall, the subjects reported that the positive aspects far outweigh the negatives in their chosen career path. Practical implications – Non-monetary features of entrepreneurial activities may be greater incentives to prospective small business starters, and success is strongly connected to thorough planning according to achievers in the field. This information can be used to encourage new business owners, guide writers of entrepreneurial advice, and inform those involved in entrepreneurship instruction. Originality/value – The direct feedback and comments from successful entrepreneurs is valuable due to the direct nature and currency of this research, as well as the linkage to previous studies.
Article
Convenience stores provide an opportunity to compare the price dispersion that occurs for gasoline, which is characterized by relatively low search and information costs to consumers, with that of in-store items, which are characterized by relatively high search and information costs to consumers. The results obtained from this study support the hypothesis that differences in search and information costs for consumers play a significant role in explaining the observed price dispersion that occurs for homogeneous items sold at convenience stores.
Article
This paper estimates the impact of registering for taxes on firm profits in Bolivia, the country with the highest levels of informality in Latin America. A new survey of micro and small firms enables us to control for a rich set of measures of owner ability and business motivations that can affect both profits and the decision to formalize. We identify the impact of tax registration on business profitability using the distance of a firm from the tax office where registration occurs, conditional on the distance to the city center, as an instrument for registration. Proximity to the tax office provides firms with more information about registration, but is argued to not directly affect profits. We find tax registration leads to significantly higher profits for the firms that the instrument affects. However, we also find some evidence of heterogeneous effects of tax formality on profits. Tax registration appears to increase profits for the mid-sized firms in our sample, but to lower profits for both the marginal smaller and larger firms, in contrast to the standard view that formality increases profits. We show that owners of large firms who have managed to stay informal are of higher entrepreneurial ability than formal firm owners, in contrast to the standard view (correct among smaller firms) that informal firm owners are low ability.
Article
A large share of the World's poor is self-employed. Accurate measurement of profits from microenterprises is therefore critical for studying poverty and inequality, measuring the returns to education, and evaluating the success of microfinance programs. However, a myriad of problems plague the measurement of profits. This paper reports on a variety of different experiments conducted to better understand the importance of some of these problems, and to draw recommendations for collecting profit data. In particular, we (i) examine how far we can reconcile self-reported profits and reports of revenue minus expenses through more detailed questions; (ii) examine recall errors in sales, and report on the results of experiments which randomly allocated account books to firms; and (iii) asked firms how much firms like theirs underreport sales in surveys like ours, and had research assistants observe the firms at random times 15–16 times during a month to provide measures for comparison. We conclude that firms underreport revenues by about 30%, that account diaries have significant impacts on both revenues and expenses, but not on profits, and that simply asking profits provides a more accurate measure of firm profits than detailed questions on revenues and expenses.
Article
The number of people engaged in micro and small enterprises increases as a result of new enterprises being started and through an expansion of existing activities. As a partial offset to these increases, employment declines when existing businesses cease operations. This article draws on recent survey work to examine the magnitude and determinants of enterprise births, closures and expansions. It explores the ways in which these different sources of change are influenced by the state of the macroeconomy, and examines policy and project implications.
Focuses on deprived neighbourhoods where instances of “food deserts” have been found and explores, through focus groups, consumer experiences of food store choices. Focusing on suburban neighbourhoods in Portsmouth, identifies significant differences in experiences of choice both between and within neighbourhoods. In some localities, the research also finds dissatisfaction with the (supposedly-coveted) “small local store”. Shows that choice is very different from provision, and conceptualises how consumers’ circumstances, situation and individual characteristics can significantly reduce a broad theoretical provision of food stores to a limited set of perceived real choices.
Article
Recent theoretical literature in development economics has shown that nonconvex production technologies can result in low-growth poverty traps. This article uses detailed microenterprise surveys in Mexico to examine the empirical evidence for these nonconvexities at low levels of capital stock. While theory emphasizes nondivisible start-up costs that exceed the wealth of many potential entrepreneurs, this article shows start-up costs to be very low in some industries. Semiparametric methods are then used to flexibly estimate returns to capital in microenterprises. Much higher returns are found at low levels of capital stock than at higher levels, and this remains true after controlling for firm characteristics and measures of entrepreneurial ability. Overall, little evidence of production nonconvexities is found at low levels of capital. The absence of nonconvexities is a significant finding because it suggests that access to start-up capital does not determine the ultimate size of the enterprise.
Article
Using panel data from three nationwide surveys in Zimbabwe, an error components model is estimated to explore the factors that drive the small-enterprise sector. Among labour-intensive industries in urban areas, entry of new enterprises appears to be driven by surplus labour. This is supported by low barriers to entry and the negative relationship between economic growth and entry rates. In contrast, entry in capital-intensive industries is unrelated to economic growth and it is characterized by significant barriers to entry, including capital, working capital, and proprietor experience. With the exception of labour-intensive industries in rural areas, entry in all other small-enterprise industries is positively correlated with agricultural income. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
Using microdata from the 1998 and 1993 Nicaraguan Living Standards Measurement Survey, this paper analyzes the relative size and attractiveness of formal and informal sector employment. Switching regression models of the formal/informal sector employment choice indicate that education across years and gender are the primary determinants of formal sector participation. Furthermore, the formal sector is characterized by positive selection. The results for the informal sector are less definitive, but are also suggestive of positive selection. These findings imply that the informal and formal sectors in Nicaragua contribute positively to the overall economy by attracting those individuals best suited for (in)formal sector employment. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2004..
Article
Summary Recent debate on the reasons for the informal sector has led to renewed focus on how to operationalize the measurement of informal employment. This paper investigates congruence between three empirical measures of the rate of informality using Brazilian household survey data for the period 1992-2004. Sixty-three percent of the economically active are informal according to at least one definition, but only 40% are informal according to all three. Regression analysis is used to shed further light on differences in these measures. Appropriate measurement is therefore of high significance to policy analysis and design of appropriate strategies to reduce informality.
Article
Access to adequate start-up capital has been identified as an important deterrent to microenteprise development and growth. Using firm level data from Mexico's National Survey of Microenterprises, we estimate a stochastic frontier production function with inefficiency effects related to the main sources of start-up capital. Microenterprises utilizing bank loans, carryover business capital, moneylenders and credit from clients and suppliers are more technically efficient than those relying on family, friends and on own financial sources. Bank loans led to the highest degree of technical efficiency, indicating a well-functioning screening process despite information asymmetries. Banks tend to offer the largest average loan size with the longest terms which are significant factors in allowing microentrepreneurs to overcome financing constraints. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2005.
Article
Studies portraying and quantifying supermarket clientele based on country-wide survey data are scarce in development economics literature. This article studies the choice of outlet of Nicaraguan consumers in 1998 and 2001 when supermarkets started to emerge and gain in importance. It applies comparative statistics and a multinomial logit model to countrywide data on 4,000 households. The results show an emerging supermarket sector with a slowly growing clientele, especially among the better endowed and more highly educated families. Small grocery shops or pulperias and the daily and weekly markets continue to serve most clients. Copyright (c) The Authors 2008. Journal compilation (c) 2008 Overseas Development Institute..
The Other Path: The Informal Revolution
  • De Soto
De Soto, Hernando 1989 The Other Path: The Informal Revolution. New York: Harper and Row.
Gender, Microcredit and the Informal Sector in Nicaragua
  • Dwight Haase
Haase, Dwight 2006 "Gender, Microcredit and the Informal Sector in Nicaragua." PhD diss., University of Wisconsin-Madison. 2007 "Closing the Gender Gap." ESR Review 9 (2): 4-9.
Developing a Typology of Nonprofi t Microenterprise Programs in the United States
  • Margaret A Johnson
Johnson, Margaret A. 1998 "Developing a Typology of Nonprofi t Microenterprise Programs in the United States." Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship 3 (2): 165-184.
A Conceptual Model and Propositions for Bolstering Entrepreneurship in the Informal Sector: The Case of Central America
  • Michael J Pisani
  • J Michael Patrick
Pisani, Michael J., and J. Michael Patrick 2002 "A Conceptual Model and Propositions for Bolstering Entrepreneurship in the Informal Sector: The Case of Central America," Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship 7 (1): 95-111.