What is it about?

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.

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Why is it important?

Reporting a 2005/6 household work practices survey involving 313 faceto- 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.


This paper evaluates competing ways of explaining the undeclared economy using evidence from Moscow.

Professor Colin C Williams
University of Sheffield

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This page is a summary of: EXPLAINING PARTICIPATION IN UNDECLARED WORK, European Societies, July 2010, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/14616691003716910.
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