What is it about?

This article examines the undeclared economy in general, and envelope wages more particularly, in 10 Central and East European countries, drawing on a 2013 Eurobarometer survey. The explanatory approach focuses on the asymmetry between the codified laws and regulations of the formal institutions and the unwritten socially shared rules of informal institutions.

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Why is it important?

A strong association is revealed between the prevalence of envelope wage payments and the degree of asymmetry between formal and informal institutions at both the individual and country levels. We explore the implications for theorising and for tackling undeclared work practices.


This paper sets out a new institutional theory for explaining the under-declared and undeclared economy.

Professor Colin C Williams
University of Sheffield

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This page is a summary of: Evaluating the prevalence of the undeclared economy in Central and Eastern Europe: An institutional asymmetry perspective, European Journal of Industrial Relations, January 2015, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/0143831x14568835.
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