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

See all articles by Colin Williams

Colin Williams

University of Sheffield - School of Management

Sara Nadin

University of Liverpool

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

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

Williams, Colin and Nadin, Sara, Re-Reading Entrepreneurship in the Hidden Economy: Commercial or Social Entrepreneurs? (2011). International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp. 441 – 455, 2011 . , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2290018 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2290018

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

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