Breaking the myth of being informal: Transforming poor settings into inclusive informal markets

Item Type Thesis (Doctoral)
Abstract Aiming to fill the gaps in the literature on informal markets and cooperations between formal and informal markets in developing countries, this thesis links the theoretical lenses of institutional work and boundary work to answer the question: How can markets emerge as inclusive arenas for the poor? Mainly participatory observations and ethnographic methods were used to gather and analyze data from two case studies in Costa Rica. The first case focuses on the banana market and cooperations between the Bribri indigenous community and the multinational corporation FT. The second focuses on the used clothing market and cooperations between entrepreneurs in the La Carpio urban slum and local companies and small-medium enterprises. Both cases evidence how the actions-relations-institutions trident explains the emergence and functioning of inclusive markets at different institutional levels. In the first case, multinational actors enhance “respecting work” when cooperating with indigenous communities and, therefore, promote the emergence of inclusive markets mainly at cognitive and normative levels. The second case shows a different phenomenon, as entrepreneurs selling used clothing in urban slums enhance “informalizing work” by embodying the continuous institutional connection between formal and informal markets, which promotes the advent of inclusive informal markets, mainly at the ontological level. The difference between poor and informal settings, informal markets, and inclusive informal markets is one of the core outcomes of this thesis. This difference suggests that transforming poor and informal settings into inclusive informal markets is an institutional challenge. Nevertheless, it is not one in which formal institutions are the protagonists, nor are philanthropic or normative ethical obligations to cooperate with weaker and poorer counterparts. Poverty and informality have value, which needs to be explored by a broad diversity of actors emerging at different institutional levels, including both those who reside in these contexts and those who do not.
Authors Symmes Avendaño, Felipe Ignacio
Referent Jäger, Urs Peter (Prof. Dr.) (Referent) & Dyllick-Brenzinger, Thomas (Prof. Dr.) (Koreferent)
Language English
Keywords Kooperation; Einreichtung; Ontologie; EDIS-5080
Subjects social sciences
HSG Classification not classified
HSG Profile Area None
Date 2021
Publisher Universität St. Gallen
Place of Publication St.Gallen
Official URL
Depositing User Ruedi Lindegger
Date Deposited 23 Feb 2021
Last Modified 13 Dec 2022 13:00


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Symmes Avendaño, Felipe Ignacio: Breaking the myth of being informal: Transforming poor settings into inclusive informal markets. Thesis, 2021.

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