Title: Gender variations in the reasons for engaging in informal sector entrepreneurship: some lessons from urban Brazil

Authors: Colin C. Williams; Kwame Adom; Sara Nadin; Youssef A. Youssef

Addresses: Management School, University of Sheffield, 9 Mappin Street, Sheffield, S1 4DT, UK. ' Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, ON, M3J 1P3, Canada. ' Management School, University of Sheffield, 9 Mappin Street, Sheffield, S1 4DT, UK. ' Federation of Canadian Brazilian Businesses (FCBB), 3205 Uplands Drive Unite 4, K1V 9T3, Ottawa – ON, Canada

Abstract: To evaluate whether entrepreneurs participate in the informal economy due to either their involuntary 'exclusion' from, or voluntary 'exit' from, the formal economy, a 2003 survey of the reasons for engaging in informal sector entrepreneurship in urban Brazil. The finding is that although similar proportions participate in informal sector entrepreneurship for exclusion as exit rationales, women do so more commonly due to their involuntary 'exclusion' from the formal economy and men more due to their decision to voluntary 'exit' the formal economy. The outcome is a call to shift from an either/or to a both/and approach when explaining informal sector entrepreneurship and for wider research on the weightings attached to exit and exclusion in different spatial contexts so as to develop a spatially contingent explanation of how men's and women's reasons for participating in informal sector entrepreneurship differ across the globe.

Keywords: micro-enterprises; micro-businesses; micro-firms; micro-companies; enterprise cultures; underground economies; shadow economies; Brazil; gender variations; informal economies; urban areas; cities; involuntary exclusion; voluntary exits; formal economies; exit rationales; men; women; spatial contexts; spatially contingent explanations; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; entrepreneurs; informal sector entrepreneurship.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2012.050165

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2012 Vol.17 No.4, pp.478 - 494

Published online: 16 Aug 2014 *

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