The Motives of Off-the-Books Entrepreneurs: Necessity- or Opportunity-Driven?
International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 203-217, 2009
15 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2015
Date Written: 2009
In recent years, it has become common to represent entrepreneurs as either necessity- or opportunity-driven. Drawing upon face-to-face interviews in England with 70 entrepreneurs trading wholly or partially off-the-books, this paper evaluates critically this dichotomous representation. The finding is that squeezing the motives of off-the-books entrepreneurs into one side or the other of this dichotomy not only over-simplifies their rationales since both necessity and opportunity motives are often involved but also obfuscates how their motives change over time. The outcome is a call to replace this either/or depiction with a richer and more nuanced both/and understanding of off-the-books entrepreneurs that recognises their diverse and dynamic motives.
Keywords: necessity entrepreneurs, opportunity entrepreneurs, informal economy, shadow economy, enterprise culture, England
JEL Classification: H26, J46, K42, O17
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation