The Heterogeneity of Cash-In Handwork
International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 2004, Vol. 24, No. 1/2, pp. 124-140.
16 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2015
Date Written: 2004
To evaluate critically whether under a market system, monetary exchange is always and everywhere based on profit-seeking behaviour, this article examines cash-in-hand work, a form of activity conventionally conceptualised as low paid employment heavily imbued with profit motivations on the part of both the consumer and supplier. Reporting data gathered through structured face-to-face interviews with 511 households in affluent and deprived neighbourhoods in two English cities, this article reveals that although most cash-in-hand work conducted by people living in affluent suburbs is conducted under social relations akin to employment for profit-motivated purposes, the vast majority of cash-in-hand work in deprived neighbourhoods is undertaken by and for kin, neighbours and friends for a range of cooperative reasons under social relations more akin to unpaid community exchange. Given this heterogeneity of cash-in-hand work, this article questions whether seeking its eradication through more stringent regulations is the appropriate policy response, especially in deprived neighbourhoods.
Keywords: Informal sector, household work practices, livelihoods, economic development, England
JEL Classification: H26, J46, J48, K34, K42, O17
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation