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

See all articles by Colin Williams

Colin Williams

University of Sheffield - School of Management

John Round

University of Birmingham

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Williams, Colin and Round, John, Explaining Participation in Undeclared Work: A Result of Exit or Exclusion? (2010). European Societies, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp, 391-418, 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2702982

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

John Round

University of Birmingham ( email )

Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT
United Kingdom

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