The Informal Sector in Ecuador: Artisans, Entrepreneurs, and Precarious Family Firms, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Informal Sector in Ecuador

Artisans, Entrepreneurs, and Precarious Family Firms, 1st Edition

By Alan Middleton


306 pages | 20 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780367192105
pub: 2019-09-16
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This book looks back over the last forty years of change and development in Ecuador, showing how macro level changes have impacted families and workplaces on the local level. Traditionally a dependent economy reliant on agricultural exports, the impact of neoliberalism and new sources of income from oil have transformed the informal and artisanal sectors in Ecuador. Exploring these dynamics using a combination of micro and macro analyses, this book demonstrates how the social relations of the sector are connected to the wider social, economic and political systems in which they operate.

The book dives into the links between micro-production and the wider economy, including the relationships between different types of artisanal enterprises and their customers, their connections to the private sector and the state, the importance of social networks and social capital and the relevance of finance capital in microenterprise development. Overall, the analysis investigates how artisans, entrepreneurs and family-based enterprises seek to protect their interests when faced with neoliberal policies and the impacts of globalization.

This remarkable longitudinal study will be of considerable interest to researchers of development studies, economics, sociology, anthropology, geography and Latin American Studies.

Table of Contents

1. Artisans and the Informal Sector in Ecuador

2. Informals, Entrepreneurs and Artisans

3. Artisans in Quito, 1975-2015

4. Neoliberalism in Ecuador

5. Choosing Informality

6. Formal-Informal relations: Backward Linkages

7. Customers, Clients and Formal Markets

8. Family Firms, Homeworkers and Home-based Enterprises

9. Social Networks and the Theft of Social Capital

10. Artisans and the State

11. Microfinance and Micro-firm Development in Context

12. Artisan Perspectives on Bank Credit

13. Main Issues and Future Prospects

14. Conclusions: Theory, Ideology and Evidence

About the Author

Alan Middleton is Emeritus Professor of Urban Studies at Birmingham City University, UK, Leverhulme Emeritus Fellow, and Chief Executive Officer of the Governance Foundation.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Latin American Development

The series features innovative and original research on Latin American development from scholars both within and outside of Latin America. It particularly promotes comparative and interdisciplinary research targeted at a global readership.

In terms of theory and method, rather than basing itself on any one orthodoxy, the series draws broadly on the tool kit of the social sciences in general, emphasizing comparison, the analysis of the structure and processes, and the application of qualitative and quantitative methods.

The series welcomes submissions from established and junior authors on cutting-edge and high-level research on key topics that feature in global news and public debate. To submit proposals, please contact the Editor, Helena Hurd (

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Economic Development
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Developing Countries


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