Non-farm employment in small-scale enterprises in Romania: policy and development issues
The aim of this paper is to summarise the results of a non-farm micro- enterprise survey in rural and peri-urban Romania and to examine their impact on the development of sustainable rural livelihoods. As these firms operate in fixed locations and are therefore more easily located and observed, most of the data presented s based on our survey of firms in Brasov and Dolj counties of Romania. This data is complemented with information about unregistered gathering, hawking, and handicraft activities collected through our qualitative social development studies in the same counties. Both categories of information document the situation at a particular point in time and can provide insights into the functioning of enterprises, but not on the dynamics of change. There are however, some initial complications in understanding the operation of small non-farm firms. On the one hand, for many of those involved in rural non-farm enterprise activities, there is no difference between activities to meet their subsistence needs and producing for the market. Thus, they sell what is surplus to their needs or in response to the opportunity selling provides to generate additional cash income. On the other hand, many of the registered rural non-farm firms are commercially oriented and operate in a competitive market. We consider the nature and extent of rural non-farm enterprises and outline their main characteristics.
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