Constrained gazelles. High potentials in West Africa¿s informal economy

Michael Grimm, Peter Knorringa, J Lay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

111 Citations (Scopus)


The informal sector is typically characterized as being very heterogeneous and possibly composed of two clearly distinct segments, sometimes called the lower and upper tier. However, empirical evidence shows that even among lower tier entrepreneurs profitability can be quite high. We combine these findings and develop an innovative approach to identify what we call “constrained gazelles”, next to the well-known survivalists in the lower tier and growth-oriented top-performers in the upper tier. Our sample of informal entrepreneurs in seven West-African countries allows to link the relative size of these three groups to the structural and macroeconomic environment in these countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1352-1368
Number of pages17
JournalWorld Development
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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