Re-Reading Entrepreneurship in the Hidden Economy: Commercial or Social Entrepreneurs?
International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp. 441 – 455, 2011 .
15 Pages Posted: 5 Jul 2013
Date Written: 2011
Since the turn of the millennium, a small but growing stream of the entrepreneurship literature has drawn attention to how a large proportion of entrepreneurs start-up their enterprises operating in the hidden economy on a wholly or partially off-the-books basis. This paper evaluates critically the assumption that these hidden entrepreneurs are engaged in commercial entrepreneurship. Reporting evidence from a 2002-2003 survey involving interviews with 28 early-stage entrepreneurs operating in the hidden economy in English rural localities, the finding is that hidden entrepreneurs range from rational economic actors pursuing a purely commercial goal through to purely social entrepreneurs pursuing solely social logics, with the majority somewhere in-between combining both commercial and social goals. The outcome is a call to begin mapping the heterogeneous logics of hidden entrepreneurs in different contexts.
Keywords: informal economy, shadow economy, underground economy, commercial entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, enterprise culture, nascent entrepreneurship, enterprise development
JEL Classification: O17, H26, H31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation