The Prevalence of Informal Work and Labour
What methods can be used to measure the varying size and character of the shadow economy across the world? How can the resultant cross-national variations in the prevalence and nature of the shadow economy be explained? And what policy approaches can be used to tackle the shadow economy? This book seeks answers to these questions. Indeed, whenever we as authors give talks on the shadow economy, or listen to others giving talks, one of the first questions asked by audiences not familiar with the subject is whether it is possible to conduct research on work that is not declared to the authorities for tax, social security or labour law purposes. Given that such activities by definition exist in the shadows and are hidden from view, they are correct to question the validity of any measurements of its size or character. Indeed, researching a form of work hidden from the authorities for tax, social security and/or labour law purposes is without doubt a difficult task. Nevertheless, just because something is difficult does not mean that it should not be attempted. Neither does the fact that it is hidden from the authorities mean that it cannot be uncovered. On the one hand, it is wholly possible to expose the extent and character of such work using indirect measurement methods that identify such work in statistical indicators collected for other purposes.