Concordia University



Fellowship Description

Research program title

Unveiling Entrepreneurial Activity in the Informal Economy

Reference number



Program description

The informal economy, defined as business activities that occur outside of formal institutional boundaries but within the boundaries of informal institutions, is a massive force in the engine of the world economy, but it remains largely shrouded in secrecy and hidden from sight. The goal of our research program is to unveil entrepreneurial dynamics in the informal economy.

In collaboration with a local NGO, we will explore the role of non-market institutions in driving informal economic activity in the townships of Cape Town, South Africa. We will be working with and collecting both quantitative and qualitative data on all enterprises in a particular township. This will include novel sets of survey, visual, and geospatial data.

We will compliment this quantitative assessments of the informal economy with more targeted qualitative data meant to unpack the nature of non-market institutions in guiding economic activity. Specifically, we will conduct participant focus groups and qualitative interviews on salient non-market institutions, including: family, community, and religion.

Our intention is that this combined approach will enable a more rigorous and authentic theory development on entrepreneurial activities in the informal economy.

Academic qualifications required

PhD in Entrepreneurship, Organization Theory, Strategy, or related fields. Qualitative or Quantitative expertise welcome, specific expertise in geospatial or photo analysis is a plus. Demonstrated capability – or potential - for publishing in high quality management journals.

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