Managed Informality: Regulating Street Vendors in Bangkok

Abstract : Thai laws aim at curbing street vending, which business elites and middle classes perceive as deviant to modernist conceptions of the city. And yet, street vendors thrive throughout the city. Focusing on the relationship between the district administration and the vendors, we examine the goals, the means and the effects of everyday regulation of street vending. We document how the district administration produces and maintains informality by creating a parallel set of rules where street vendors enjoy negligible rents and little competition. We provide detailed empirical evidence on earnings, rent, fines, and rules regarding commercial real estate. The district administration's policy of ―managed informality‖ results in a situation where more established informal vendors control less established ones. We hypothesize in the conclusion that the district administration's parallel legal system adjusts to the population's expectations in a political system where the law has little popular support.
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Submitted on : Sunday, April 3, 2016 - 7:33:18 PM
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Quentin Batréau, François Bonnet. Managed Informality: Regulating Street Vendors in Bangkok. City and Community, Wiley, 2016, 15 (1), pp.29-43. ⟨http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cico.12150/abstract⟩. ⟨10.1111/cico.12150⟩. ⟨halshs-01297259⟩

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