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Opportunity Knocks: Entrepreneurship, Informality and Home Gardening in South Texas

Michael J. Pisani, David W. Yoskowitz


This paper explores small-scale and primarily informal entrepreneurship through the lens of self-employed home gardeners in South Texas. Though the study site of Laredo, Texas lies within the southwestern border area of the United States, South Texas is best characterized by:
the underdevelopment of basic infrastructure (e.g., physical, educational, and social), the inadequate development of human resources and income, and the degraded environment. Nonetheless, self-employed gardeners have improved their life chances, in spite of the region's challenges, earning 1.7 times the legal minimum wage. Additional results based on the survey of onehundred (100) self-employed gardeners reveal a nearly even split between full-time and parttime employment, the importance of the border and the proximity of Mexico to the supply and informality of gardeners, and the ease of market entry into the gardening profession. Four propositions for further research for border entrepreneurship and informality are offered.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229