Intermediate state capabilities and informal entrepreneurship: A configurational perspective

Andrew Spicer, Joshua K. Ault

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Drawing on recent "neo-configurational" theorizing in the broader management literature (Misangyi et al., 2017), we propose that the effects of national institutions on informal entrepreneurial activities are best viewed as multi- dimensional and conjunctural. To advance this institutional-configurational perspective, we conducted a fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (fs/QCA) of the effects of institutional configurations on both the degree and type of informal labor across 129 countries. Building inductively from our analysis of the joint presence and absence of institutional capabilities across multiple domains, we propose that the presence of "intermediate state capabilities" which we define as states that possess capabilities in some institutional domains but not others moderates the relationship between informal economic activity and entrepreneurially-driven economic growth. That is, the highest levels of "growth- oriented" informal entrepreneurship are likely to occur in national contexts where the state may lack the full set of capabilities that are necessary to create a strong formal economy, but nonetheless possesses some capabilities to provide an enabling environment for more productive forms of informal entrepreneurial activity. In the discussion of our results, we explore the contribution of our configurational argument to seeing new forms of institutional heterogeneity across the developing world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2018
Event78th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2018 - Chicago, United States
Duration: Aug 10 2018Aug 14 2018


Other78th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Industrial relations


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