Tackling the Participation of the Unemployed in Paid Informal Work: A Critical Evaluation of the Deterrence Approach
Environment and Planning C, Vol. 19, No. 5, pp. 729-749, 2001
22 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2013
Date Written: 2001
This paper evaluates critically the use of deterrence to tackle the participation of the unemployed in paid informal work. Based on the assumption that the paid informal work of the unemployed is low-paid employment conducted for unadulterated economic reasons, the aim is to deter these rational economic actors by ensuring that the expected cost of being caught and punished is greater than the benefit of participating in such activity. Using structured interviews with the unemployed in UK lower-income urban neighbourhoods, however, pure economic motivations are not found to predominate when the unemployed participate in this work. Instead, such work is principally used to help out others and/or to cement or forge social networks. In consequence, it is argued that there is a need to couple deterrence with the provision of alternative coping mechanisms in order to eradicate paid informal work. It concludes by proposing several policy initiatives that could act as a substitute for such work.
Keywords: informal employment, unemployment, shadow economy, informal sector, informal economy, UK
JEL Classification: O17
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation