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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

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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  • Pasquier-Doumer, Laure, 2011. "Intergenerational transmission of self-employed status in the informal sector: a constrained choice or better income prospects? Evidence from seven West-African countries," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2011 64, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:gdec11:64
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    2. Nordman, Christophe J. & Pasquier-Doumer, Laure, 2015. "Transitions in a West African labour market: The role of family networks," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 74-85.
    3. Björn Nilsson, 2019. "The School-to-Work Transition in Developing Countries," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 55(5), pages 745-764, May.
    4. Chi Huu Nguyen & Christophe J. Nordman, 2018. "Household Entrepreneurship and Social Networks: Panel Data Evidence from Vietnam," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 54(4), pages 594-618, April.
    5. Christophe Nordman & Julia Vaillant, 2013. "Inputs, Gender Roles or Sharing Norms? Assessing the Gender Performance Gap Among Informal Entrepreneurs in Madagascar," Working Papers DT/2013/15, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    6. Eunice Maria M. N. Dos Santos & João J. Ferreira, 2017. "Analyzing Informal Entrepreneurship: A Bibliometric Survey," Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship (JDE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 22(04), pages 1-20, December.
    7. Jean-Philippe Berrou & François Combarnous, 2018. "Beyond Solidarity and Accumulation Networks in Urban Informal African Economies," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 30(4), pages 652-675, September.
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    9. Radchenko, Natalia, 2014. "Heterogeneity in Informal Salaried Employment: Evidence from the Egyptian Labor Market Survey," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 169-188.
    10. Deguilhem, Thibaud & Berrou, Jean-Philippe & Combarnous, François, 2017. "Using your ties to get a worse job? The differential effects of social networks on quality of employment: Evidence from Colombia," MPRA Paper 78628, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    informal sector; entrepreneurship; intergenerational link;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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