Managed Informality: Regulating Street Vendors in Bangkok
City & Community
29 - 43 p.
The article focuses on the relationship between street vendors and local authorities in Bangkok. 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, rents, 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.