This paper tests theory that predicts that context specific learning potentially contributes to entrepreneurial performance. Multiple linear regression analysis and moderated regression analysis is used to test the effects of experience upon street trader gross earnings, and to derive a typology of street trader tenure and exit. Marginalist perspectives of the sector that predict no potential for economic accumulation across the sector over time are contested as experience is found to be positively and significantly associated with higher levels of earnings. The finding that specific human capital or context specific learning does predict earnings suggests that a mechanism for the upliftment of entrepreneurial street traders might exist. Further, a more proactive role by the state to develop the human capital of street traders might enable a ‘ladder’ out of survivalist poverty and might ultimately contribute to the use of the informal sector as a developmental space for certain of these people.
Key words: Experience, informal street trading, entrepreneurship, development.
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