The Commonality and Character of Off-the-Books Entrepreneurship: A Comparison of Deprived and Affluent Urban Neighbourhoods

Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp. 1-14 (2010)

14 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2013

See all articles by Colin Williams

Colin Williams

University of Sheffield - School of Management

Sara Nadin

University of Liverpool

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

To evaluate whether and how the prevalence and nature of off-the-books entrepreneurship varies across deprived and affluent neighborhoods in an advanced economy, face-to-face interviews are here reported conducted with 511 households in English affluent and deprived urban neighborhoods. The finding in both the affluent and deprived urban communities surveyed is that wholly legitimate enterprises represent just the tip of the iceberg. Beneath the surface in all areas is a large hidden enterprise culture composed of both registered businesses trading off-the-books as well as unregistered wholly off-the-books enterprises. However, the preponderance of both early-stage entrepreneurs as well as the established self-employed to trade off-the-books is greater in deprived than affluent urban communities, as is the tendency for entrepreneurs to operate business on a wholly off-the-books basis, intimating that deprived urban communities are perhaps relatively more enterprising and entrepreneurial than is currently recognized. The paper thus concludes by contending that across all localities, but especially in deprived urban neighborhoods, legitimizing the hidden enterprise culture could be an important but so far untapped means of promoting enterprise and economic development.

Keywords: entrepreneurship, enterprise culture, informal economy, informal sector, underground economy, shadow economy, England

JEL Classification: O17, H26, H31, K42

Suggested Citation

Williams, Colin and Nadin, Sara, The Commonality and Character of Off-the-Books Entrepreneurship: A Comparison of Deprived and Affluent Urban Neighbourhoods (2010). Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp. 1-14 (2010), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2290548 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2290548

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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