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Salvi, Esther ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6949-6583 (2020): Semi-Formal Firms in Sub-Sahara Africa: Towards a More Nuanced Understanding of (In) Formality. In: Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research BCERC Proceedings 2020, Vol. 40: p. 289

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Usually, informal firms are contrasted to formal firms (e.g., Nichter & Goldmark, 2009; Siqueira et al., 2014). However, our field trips to Mali in Sub-Saharan Africa show that there are also entities presenting some degrees of formality, and informality respectively. In line with Hommes et al. 2014 and Knox et al. 2019 we call them “semi-formal firms”, and investigate them through an exploratory, qualitative study in Mali, a landlocked country in West Africa. Through our coding process and analysis, we identify five dimensions relating the (in)formality of firms, including: legal status; tax payment; compliance with regulations; informal side activities complementing the main business; and employee working conditions. Each dimension has four categories representing varying degrees of (in)formality. The conceptual implication of our study is that we will have a better tool to measure semi-formal firms. The practical implication is that governmental policymakers in the Global South can better identify them and develop policies for the enhancement of the formalization process

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