Evaluating the Participation of the Self-Employed in Undeclared Work: Some Evidence from a 27-Nation European Survey

International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 341-356, 2011

18 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2015

See all articles by Colin Williams

Colin Williams

University of Sheffield - School of Management

Sara Nadin

University of Liverpool

Marijana Baric

University of Buckingham - Business School

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

In recent decades, it has been widely assumed that undeclared work is rife amongst the self-employed. Until now, however, few have evaluated the extent and nature of the participation of the self-employed in undeclared work and whether they do so out of choice or necessity. The aim of this paper is to fill this gap. To do this, an extensive 2007 Eurobarometer survey on undeclared work is reported comprising 26,659 face-to-face interviews conducted in the 27 member states of the European Union. The finding is that some 1 in 12 of the 1,842 self-employed respondents surveyed had participated in undeclared work in the previous year, although the propensity of the self-employed to engage in undeclared work varies significantly both socio-demographically and spatially. Analysing whether they do so out of choice or necessity, meanwhile, various ratios of involuntary-to-voluntary participation in undeclared work are found to prevail across different populations, places and types of undeclared work. The paper concludes by reviewing the implications for policy. Its argument is not only that state authorities targeting the self-employed alone will fail to eradicate undeclared work but also that a more variegated approach is required if the participation of the self-employed in undeclared work is to be efficiently and effectively tackled.

Keywords: informal economy, informal employment, self-employment, entrepreneurship, tax compliance, European Union

JEL Classification: H26, J46, K42, O17

Suggested Citation

Williams, Colin and Nadin, Sara and Baric, Marijana, Evaluating the Participation of the Self-Employed in Undeclared Work: Some Evidence from a 27-Nation European Survey (2011). International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 341-356, 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2703009

Colin Williams (Contact Author)

University of Sheffield - School of Management ( email )

15 Conduit Road
Sheffield, S10 1FL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/management/staff/williams/index

Sara Nadin

University of Liverpool ( email )

Chatham Street
Liverpool, L69 7ZH
United Kingdom

Marijana Baric

University of Buckingham - Business School ( email )

Hunter Street
Buckingham, MK18 1EG
United Kingdom

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