The economic value of magazine street vendors

From today’s Brisbane Times comes an article reporting about a study of the economic value of The Big Issue street vendors:

The Economic Value of Street Vendor Program report released today estimates the concept – in which vendors sell the magazine for $5 and keep half for themselves – saves tax payers $20,000 per vendor per year in welfare services which the vendors would not otherwise have been able to pay for.

In addition to the $7 million saved in welfare services, the vendor program generates commercial benefits of $3 million from sales of the magazine.

It strikes me this strategy of street-level economic development may have wider implications for pubic and cultural policy. What do you think? 

I haven’t been able to find a copy of the report on the web, but I’ve put a request in with The Big Issue for a copy. Hopefully I will be able to profile it here in coming days.

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