Explaining Participation in Undeclared Work: A Result of Exit or Exclusion?
European Societies, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp, 391-418, 2010
Posted: 14 Dec 2015
Date Written: 2010
This paper evaluates critically competing explanations for participation in undeclared work that either read engagement through a structuralist lens as driven by ‘exclusion’ from state benefits and the circuits of the modern economy or through a neo-liberal and/or post-structuralist lens as driven by the voluntary ‘exit’ of workers out of formal institutions. Reporting a 2005/6 household work practices survey involving 313 face-to-face interviews in contemporary Moscow, the finding is that there is no single unique logic underpinning undeclared work in this post-Soviet city; such work is neither universally driven by exclusion nor exit. Different mixtures of the two prevail across different populations and forms of undeclared work. The outcome is a call for greater appreciation of the multifarious character of undeclared work and a move beyond simplistic explanations and policy responses.
Keywords: informal economy, decent work, structure/agency, Moscow, Russia, post-socialism
JEL Classification: H26, J46, K42, O17, P3
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