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

See all articles by Colin Williams

Colin Williams

University of Sheffield - School of Management

Date Written: December 13, 2008

Abstract

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

Williams, Colin, Consumers’ Motives for Buying Goods and Services on an Off-the-Books Basis (December 13, 2008). International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, Vol. 18, No. 3, pp. 311-323, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2702889

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

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