Institutional incongruence, the everyday, and the persistence of street vending in Lagos: a demand-side perspective

Igudia, E., Ackrill, R. ORCID: 0000-0002-0739-1812 and Machokoto, M., 2022. Institutional incongruence, the everyday, and the persistence of street vending in Lagos: a demand-side perspective. Environment and Planning A. ISSN 0308-518X (Forthcoming)


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Informal street vending is the most widespread activity in the global informal economy and a central part of citizens’ everyday lives, both sellers and patrons, in the urban centres of the Global South. Recently, however, authorities have started to ban street vending and even buying from vendors, as they impose policies that seek to control access to and use of urban spaces in pursuit of urban modernisation. Despite this, street vending continues. We seek understanding of this policy failure, from the perspective of the patrons of street vendors, a largely-neglected focus. Adopting a neoinstitutionalist framework, we utilise the concept of institutional incongruence to frame our empirical research. We apply multinomial analysis to an in-depth survey of 529 individuals in Lagos, Nigeria, complemented by ten interviews. We find patrons are motivated by multiple economic, social and spatial factors. Our results, as well as codifying and confirming existing understandings of patrons’ motivations, introduce a distinct factor – necessity – into the literature. These results allow us to offer important policy insights. Gaps between citizens’ behaviour impacted by the formal institutions of neoliberal urban policies, and the longstanding informal institutions shaping custom, and community, provide new insights into Lagosians’ everyday lives as patrons of street vendors. Moreover, these urban policies are shown to drive people towards street vending, as sellers and patrons – the opposite of their intended outcome. For policies to be developed that can reduce institutional incongruence and improve, rather than worsen, Lagosians’ lives, our results offer an important starting point.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Environment and Planning A
Creators: Igudia, E., Ackrill, R. and Machokoto, M.
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Date: 7 February 2022
ISSN: 0308-518X
Rights: Accepted for publication in the journal Environment and Planning A. Copyright © 2022 SAGE Publications.
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 23 Feb 2022 16:07
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2022 16:07

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