What is it about?

When tackling the undeclared economy, an emergent literature has called for the conventional rational economic actor approach (which uses deterrents to ensure that the costs of undeclared work outweigh the benefits) to be replaced or complemented by a social actor approach which focuses upon improving tax morale.

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Why is it important?

Evaluating the validity of doing so using 27,563 face-to-face interviews conducted in 2013 across Europe, multilevel logistic regression analysis reveals that both approaches significantly reduce participation in undeclared work. When tax morale is high, however, deterrence measures have little impact on reducing the probability of participation in undeclared work and it is only when tax morale is low that raising the level of deterrents has greater impacts, with increasing the perceived risks of detection in such contexts leading to higher reductions in participation in undeclared work than increasing the perceived punishments. The paper concludes by calling for more nuanced context-bound policy approaches.

Perspectives

Displays the need for a holistic approach towards the undeclared economy that integrates both direct and indirect control measures

Professor Colin C Williams
University of Sheffield

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This page is a summary of: Evaluating the policy approaches for tackling undeclared work in the European Union, Environment and Planning C Politics and Space, September 2016, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/0263774x16670665.
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