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

The Informal Sector in Ecuador
Artisans, Entrepreneurs and Precarious Family Firms

ISBN 9780367192105
Published August 12, 2019 by Routledge
306 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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 globalisation.

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

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


"Alan Middleton’s landmark book is a longitudinal study of artisans, entrepreneurs and precarious family firms in Quito, one of the two major cities in Ecuador. He relates his research to the global literature on economic development, informality, regulation, micro-enterprise, micro-credit and social capital, and he exposes the failings of many famous authors who have made grand assertions on the basis of superficial studies. Covering the 40 years from 1975 to 2015, the research is innovative and multi-faceted, giving us a detailed understanding of how family and home-based enterprises respond to dramatic changes in national economies and government policies."Ray Bromley, Professor of Geography, Planning and Latin American Studies, State University of New York at Albany, USA