To read this content please select one of the options below:

We must deter, but not without trust: a case of formalising informal micro-entrepreneurs in Pakistan

Muhammad Shehryar Shahid (Lahore University of Management Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan)
Lalarukh Ejaz (IBA Karachi, Karachi, Pakistan)
Kiran Ali (Lahore University of Management Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 21 April 2022

Issue publication date: 14 February 2023

147

Abstract

Purpose

The policy approach in Pakistan with regard to combating the informal economy has remained quite myopic and skewed in its reliance on measures informed by the rational economic-actor theory as opposed to the social-actor approach. Thus, this study attempts to evaluate and synthesise the two alternative policy approaches and formulate a more theoretically integrative understanding of the subject.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors gather data from 600 micro-entrepreneurs operating in the retail and wholesale sector of Lahore, Pakistan, which is then analysed using an ordered logit regression technique.

Findings

In contrast to more developed countries, the finding here is that higher perceived penalties have a highly significant and positive impact on the level of formality of Pakistani micro-entrepreneurs. The perceived risk of detection, meanwhile, has only a moderately significant impact on the micro-entrepreneurs level of formality. Likewise, the level of vertical and horizontal trust has a positive but moderately significant impact on the level of formality. Nonetheless, both the vertical and horizontal trust exhibit a very significant moderating effect on the relationship between the use of penalties and the level of formality, that is, the higher the level of trust that the micro-entrepreneurs have in the state and other businesses, the lower is the effectiveness of punitive measures.

Practical implications

Deterrence is an effective way to enhance the level of formality in the case of the Pakistani context. Nonetheless, the authors imply that without building trust, this overreliance on punitive and detective measures can actually be counter-productive. A combined and congruent (not sequential) use of voluntary compliance measures is thus warranted.

Originality/value

It is a unique attempt to evaluate and synthesise the global policy theorisations in a non-mainstream and antagonistic climate, such as Pakistan.

Keywords

Citation

Shahid, M.S., Ejaz, L. and Ali, K. (2023), "We must deter, but not without trust: a case of formalising informal micro-entrepreneurs in Pakistan", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 43 No. 1/2, pp. 228-246. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-02-2022-0042

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles