What is it about?

The aim of this paper is to transcend the long-standing depiction that workers universally participate in the undeclared service economy out of necessity due to their exclusion from the formal labour market, by proposing and evaluating the existence of a dual undeclared labour market in the service sector composed of an ‘upper-tier’ of voluntary exit-driven and ‘lower-tier’ of exclusion-driven undeclared service sector workers. Reporting a 2019 Eurobarometer survey conducted in 28 European countries, a dual labour market in the undeclared service economy is validated.

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Why is it important?

Three-quarters of undeclared service workers report either purely exit- or exclusion driven rationales. For every lower tier undeclared service worker, 6.7 are in the upper tier, with those in the voluntary exit-driven upper tier more likely to be older, self-employed, having spent time in full-time education, and to be living in Western Europe and Nordic countries. The theoretical and policy implications are then discussed


Shows that the informal economy is segmented, just as the formal labour market is segmented. Not all informal workers are marginal groups conducting very low paid work

Professor Colin C Williams
University of Sheffield

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This page is a summary of: Revisiting the undeclared service economy as a dual labour market: lessons from a 2019 Eurobarometer survey, Service Industries Journal, May 2021, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/02642069.2021.1932830.
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