Marketing interactions in subsistence marketplaces: A bottom-up approach to designing public policy

Madhu Viswanathan, Srinivas Sridharan, Robin Ritchie, Srinivas Venugopal, Kiju Jung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

105 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In many developing countries, buyer-seller exchange among the poor occurs mainly in unique, socially embedded environments that are essentially informal markets. This article describes the findings of an in-depth, in situ study of an informal-economy subsistence marketplace in South India. Through interviews with consumers and owners of survivalist microenterprises, the authors identify seven themes that characterize the subsistence marketplace context, buyer-seller interactions within them, and specific elements of exchange. Drawing on these findings, along with theories of social capital and consumption in poverty, they make the case that business policy in developing countries should aim to empower subsistence entrepreneurs and consumers, embrace emergent solutions, help build bridges between informal and formal economies, and adopt a bottom-up orientation to policy development. The study s findings offer important insights into policy that can help microenterprises of the informal economy become engines of economic growth in these countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159 - 177
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Public Policy & Marketing
Volume31
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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