Cultural Theory of Poverty and Informal Sector: A Case Study of Street Vendors of Pondy Bazaar, Chennai
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Poverty has ideally been studied from either the individual perspective or the cultural perspective. While the individual perspective holds genetic factors to be responsible for poverty of urban dwellers, the cultural theory holds the societal, political, cyclical and geographical factors to be responsible for poverty of people. This research paper tests the cultural theory of poverty on the street vendors of PondyBazaar area in a Tier I city, Chennai. The impact of societal factors (gender, religion, dependents, choice of occupation and choice of migration), economic factors (occupation before migration), cyclical factors (willingness to stay in the same occupation) and geographical factors (distance of vendors’ native place to Chennai) was studied on income of street vendors through a structural equation model. Questionnaire method was used to collect data from 100 street vendors spread over Sivagnanam Street, Sivaprakasam Street and Sir Thyagaraya Road in PondyBazaar area. The results depict that the structural equation was highest for income of vendors. Also, three of the chosen societal factors (gender, choice of occupation and choice of migration), economic factors and cyclical factors have a major impact on determining the incomes of vendors. However, two societal factors and geographical factors have very less impact on earnings of vendors. Since the test results were run on Tier I city, the theory might or might not hold true in a Tier II city which needs to be tested in further research.
Street vendors, cultural theory, societal factors, geographical factors, economic factors, cyclical factors, Pondy Bazaar, Chennai.