Informal enterprises are widely viewed as a mechanism to engage unemployed people in the economy and thereby alleviate poverty in developing economies. However, over-representation in an economy may lead to both economic growth and broader employment opportunities being sacrificed. This paper presents a process model to investigate three potential drivers for firms to formalize: the first from a desire to grow and develop the firm through innovation, the second from the wish to access government financial support and the third stimulated by the payment of unofficial payments or bribes. We use data from surveys of Vietnamese firms in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011 to investigate these drivers of formalization. Although we find support for all three of these drivers, the results differ in significance across years and firm types. We explain these differences using attention theory to show how different situations and events can make the formalization decision more likely over time
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