Cross-Border Consumption of Informal and Underground Goods: A Case Study of Alternative Consumerism in South Texas

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Abstract

Objective: To explore the determinants of informal consumption of cross-border goods from the South Texas-Mexico border. Twelve select informal and underground goods are examined. Methods: Derived from extensive interviews, a unique (and purposive) data set of 357 consumers from the South Texas borderlands was collected in the summer of 2010. Results: Nearly two-thirds (64.6 percent) of borderlands consumers have engaged in, at one time or another, the purchase and consumption of cross-border informal goods. The rate is 44.1 percent for the consumption of cross-border underground goods. An important determinant in the cross-border consumption of informal goods is one's self-reported morals for buying "off the books." This relationship is inversely bound. Immigration status, Spanish-language ability, education, civil status, and residence location all inform participation in the consumption of informal cross-border goods. Conclusion: The South Texas-Mexico border clearly acts as a lever for the cross-border consumption of informal and underground goods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-262
Number of pages21
JournalSocial Science Quarterly
Volume94
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2013

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