Entrepreneurship and the Off-the-Books Economy: Some Lessons from England

International Journal of Management and Enterprise Development, Vol. 7, No. 4, pp. 429-444, 2009

16 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2015

See all articles by Colin Williams

Colin Williams

University of Sheffield - School of Management

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

This paper investigates the relationship between entrepreneurship and off-the-books work. Until now, although it has been recognised that a share of off-the-books transactions are conducted by nascent entrepreneurs and the established self-employed, few have evaluated what proportion of entrepreneurs engage in the off-the-books economy and whether this varies across populations. Reporting the results of 811 face-to-face interviews in English affluent and deprived localities on the relationship between off-the-books work and entrepreneurship, the finding is that even though only a relatively small proportion of all off-the-books work is conducted by nascent and established entrepreneurs, although the share is higher in affluent populations, some three-quarters of business start-ups and the established self-employed trade wholly or partially off-the-books, and this figure is even higher in deprived populations. The outcome is a call to reposition the hidden enterprise culture more centre-stage in discussions of entrepreneurship and enterprise development.

Keywords: business start-ups, England, enterprise development, entrepreneurship, informal sector, shadow economy, tax compliance, underground economy

JEL Classification: H26, J46, K42, O17

Suggested Citation

Williams, Colin, Entrepreneurship and the Off-the-Books Economy: Some Lessons from England (2009). International Journal of Management and Enterprise Development, Vol. 7, No. 4, pp. 429-444, 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2702911

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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