Consumers’ Motives for Buying Goods and Services on an Off-the-Books Basis
International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, Vol. 18, No. 3, pp. 311-323, 2008
Posted: 14 Dec 2015
Date Written: December 13, 2008
To evaluate critically the common assumption that consumers purchase goods and services on an off-the-books basis so as to save money, this paper reports a 27-nation European survey that interviewed 26,659 citizens in 2007 about their undeclared transactions. This reveals that saving money is the sole motive in just 31 per cent of off-the-books transactions, one of several rationales in 35 per cent of exchanges and not cited as a rationale in the remaining 34 per cent of cases. Besides saving money, such transactions are conducted to circumvent the shortcomings of formal sector provision in terms of its availability, speed, reliability and quality, as well as for social and redistributive rationales. The paper concludes by discussing the implications for tackling Europe’s cash-in-hand consumer culture.
Keywords: undeclared work, informal economy, consumer behaviour, consumer motives, Europe, behavioural economics
JEL Classification: J46, O17
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation