The positive development role of informal economic activity: The case of informal printing firms in Ghana

Journal article


Darbi, W. and Paul Knott 2021. The positive development role of informal economic activity: The case of informal printing firms in Ghana. Business Strategy & Development. https://doi.org/10.1002/bsd2.170
AuthorsDarbi, W. and Paul Knott
Abstract

We address the potential for the “informal sector” to have a positive role in development, in contrast to portrayals of the sector as marginal, transient, exploitative, and predicated on institutional failings. Our study presents a social practice analysis of the informal printing hub in Accra, Ghana, which operates in this sector characterised by various degrees of non-compliance with business registration, tax and employment legislation. We profile the operations and strategic practices of its small informal businesses and show how informal sector actors, regulatory institutions and formal business customers navigate the ambiguous terrain that informality brings by co-constructing informality as a pervasive, near-legitimate phenomenon. From the case, we argue that the informal economy can achieve not only resilient operational and competitive performance but also a set of positive socio-economic outcomes. We explore policy responses capable of nurturing its immersive networks by emphasising pragmatic accommodation and flexible dispensation.

Keywordsinformal economic activity; informal printing firms; Ghana
Year2021
JournalBusiness Strategy & Development
PublisherWiley
ISSN2572-3170
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1002/bsd2.170
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1002/bsd2.170
Output statusPublished
Publication dates18 May 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted23 Apr 2023
Deposited26 Oct 2023
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