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Officially Despised Yet Tolerated: Open-air Markets and Entrepreneurship in Post-socialist Countries


  • Ruta Aidis


This article examines the entrepreneurial activity at open-air markets (OAMs) in post-socialist countries. Based on interviews and observations of 65 traders at the largest OAM in the Baltics, we address the following questions: (a) To what extent can these traders be considered productive entrepreneurs? and (b) What unique functions do OAMs fulfil in the post-socialist environment? Our analysis indicates that, based on our working definition of entrepreneurship in transition countries, we consider these traders to be entrepreneurs. In addition, we identify a number of important social, political and economic roles that OAM traders fulfil in the transition environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Ruta Aidis, 2003. "Officially Despised Yet Tolerated: Open-air Markets and Entrepreneurship in Post-socialist Countries," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(3), pages 461-473.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:pocoec:v:15:y:2003:i:3:p:461-473 DOI: 10.1080/1463137032000139106

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ágnes Czakó, 1999. "Characteristics and Origins of the Comecon Open-air Market in Hungary," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(4), pages 715-737, December.
    2. Wennekers, Sander & Thurik, Roy, 1999. "Linking Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 27-55, August.
    3. Smallbone, David & Welter, Friederike, 2001. "The Distinctiveness of Entrepreneurship in Transition Economies," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 249-262, June.
    4. Endre Sik, 1999. "The Development of Open-air Markets in East-Central Europe," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(4), pages 697-714, December.
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