Undeclared Work in the European Construction Industry: Evidence from a 2007 Eurobarometer Survey

Construction Management and Economics, Vol. 29, No. 8, pp. 853-867, 2011

Posted: 14 Dec 2015

See all articles by Colin Williams

Colin Williams

University of Sheffield - School of Management

Sara Nadin

University of Liverpool

Jan E. Windebank

University of Sheffield - Department of French

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

A widespread assumption has been that undeclared work is rife in the European construction industry. Despite this, there have been no European-wide surveys of the prevalence and character of undeclared work in this sector of the economy. To fill this gap, the findings are reported of a 2007 Eurobarometer survey on undeclared work involving 26 659 face-to-face interviews undertaken in 27 European Union member states. This reveals the widespread prevalence of undeclared work in the European construction industry along with its heterogeneous forms and uneven distribution both spatially and across different groups of the construction workforce. It then evaluates what needs to be done to tackle this problem. The argument is that doing nothing is seldom an option because this leaves intact the existing negative impacts of undeclared work on construction businesses, the construction workforce, customers and governments. Pursuing the eradication of such work is neither effective nor necessarily desirable since most governments wish to move such endeavour into the declared realm rather than simply eradicate it. In consequence, this paper advocates a policy approach of facilitating the formalization of declared work and then details a range of preventative, curative and commitment policy measures for achieving this in the European construction industry.

Keywords: Informal employment, shadow economy, tax compliance, construction sector, European Union

JEL Classification: H26, J46, K42, O17

Suggested Citation

Williams, Colin and Nadin, Sara and Windebank, Jan E., Undeclared Work in the European Construction Industry: Evidence from a 2007 Eurobarometer Survey (2011). Construction Management and Economics, Vol. 29, No. 8, pp. 853-867, 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2702994

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

Sara Nadin

University of Liverpool ( email )

Chatham Street
Liverpool, L69 7ZH
United Kingdom

Jan E. Windebank

University of Sheffield - Department of French ( email )

United Kingdom
(0114) 222 4888 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.shef.ac.uk/french/staff/jwindebank.html

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