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Intergenerational transmission of self-employed status in the informal sector: a constrained choice or better income prospects? Evidence from seven West-African countries

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  • Pasquier-Doumer, Laure

Abstract

Abstract Social reproduction is the highest for self-employed as shown by an extensive literature from developed and developing countries. Very few studies however document the reason for this high intergenerational correlation of the self-employed status. The rare studies that have been done concern the US and show that children of self-employed benefit from an advantage when they are themselves self-employed. The purpose of this paper is to test in the African context if the second-generation of self-employed has an advantage related to the first-generation. It aims at highlighting the debate between two visions: the first of informal sector as the less-advantaged sector of a dualistic labour market, and the second as a sector of personal choice and dynamic entrepreneurship. Using 1-2-3 surveys collected in the commercial capitals of seven West African countries in 2001-2002, this paper shows that the second-generation of informal self-employed does not have better outcomes than the first one, except when they choose a familial tradition in the same sector of activity. Thus, in the African context, having a self-employed father does not provide any advantage in terms of profit or sales and is not sufficient for the transmission of a valuable informal human capital. On the other hand, informal entrepreneurs who have chosen a specific enterprise based on familial tradition have a comparative advantage. Their comparative advantage is partly explained by the transmission of enterprise-specific human capital, acquired thanks to experiences in the same type of activity and by the transmission of social capital that guarantees a better clientele and a reputation. --

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Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics in its series Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2011 with number 64.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:gdec11:64

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Keywords: informal sector; entrepreneurship; intergenerational link;

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Cited by:
  1. Nordman, Christophe Jalil & Vaillant, Julia, 2014. "Inputs, Gender Roles or Sharing Norms? Assessing the Gender Performance Gap Among Informal Entrepreneurs in Madagascar," IZA Discussion Papers 8046, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Mboutchouang, Vincent De Paul & Kenneck, Joseph Massil & Mbenga Bindop, Kunz Modeste, 2013. "Transmission Intergénérationelle de l’Entrepreneuriat et Performance des Unités de Production Informelles au Cameroun," MPRA Paper 50133, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Aug 2013.

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