What is it about?

When explaining and tackling the undeclared economy in Central and Eastern Europe, participants have been conventionally viewed as rational economic actors. They engage in undeclared work when the benefits outweigh the costs. Participation is thus deterred by increasing the sanctions and/or probability of being caught. Recently, however, an alternative social actor approach has emerged which views participants as engaging in undeclared work when their norms, values and beliefs (i.e. citizen morale) do not align with laws and regulations (i.e. state morale). Here, therefore, initiatives to develop greater symmetry between civic and state morale are pursued. To evaluate the validity and effectiveness of these competing explanations and policy approaches, 2,004 face-to-face interviews conducted in Bulgaria in late 2015 are reported.

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Why is it important?

Logit marginal effects regression analysis reveals no association between participation in undeclared work and the perceived level of penalties and risk of detection, but a strong significant association with the level of asymmetry between citizen and state morale; the greater the asymmetry, the higher is the likelihood of participation in undeclared work.


This paper reveals that improving trust in state institutions is necessary if undeclared work is to be tackled, rather than increasing the penalties for those found to be engaged in undeclared work

Professor Colin C Williams
University of Sheffield

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This page is a summary of: Evaluating competing perspectives towards undeclared work: some lessons from Bulgaria, Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe, August 2018, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/25739638.2018.1511112.
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