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Measuring the Global Shadow Economy

The Prevalence of Informal Work and Labour Colin C. Williams, Professor of Public Policy, Management School, University of Sheffield, UK and Friedrich Schneider, Professor of Economics, Johannes Kepler University of Linz, Austria
This book brings together two leading researchers in the field to provide a comprehensive overview of the shadow economy from a global perspective. Reviewing the advantages and disadvantages of different ways of measuring the informal sector, the authors evaluate its size and key determinants across the world. Williams and Schneider clearly establish the persistence and prevalence of the shadow economy, analysing the narrowness of existing policy approaches and explaining how these fail to address the key factors for its existence and may even exacerbate the problem.
Extent: 256 pp
Hardback Price: $120.00 Web: $108.00
Publication Date: 2016
ISBN: 978 1 78471 798 8
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Labour Economics
  • Public Finance
  • Social Policy and Sociology
  • Labour Policy
This book brings together two leading researchers in the field to provide a comprehensive overview of the shadow economy from a global perspective. Reviewing the advantages and disadvantages of different ways of measuring the informal sector, the authors evaluate its size and key determinants across the world. Williams and Schneider clearly establish the persistence and prevalence of the shadow economy, analysing the narrowness of existing policy approaches and explaining how these fail to address the key factors for its existence and may even exacerbate the problem.

Proposing an alternative way forward, the authors argue that little headway will ever be made in reducing the shadow economy until there are changes not only to the character of formal institutions but also informal institutions (the values, beliefs and norms of citizens) through the introduction of macro-level structural changes.

This timely, cutting-edge review of the global shadow economy and how it can be measured and tackled is an invaluable resource for postgraduate students, researchers and policy-makers, particularly those with a interest in tax evasion and informal labour.
‘Williams and Schneider, two of the most respected colleagues in this field have pulled off a fascinating book. This is a resource, which will genuinely benefit a range of actors interested in the informal economy from governments, taxation authorities, trading standards to students of the sociology of work and enterprise. Brilliant.’
– Gerard McElwee, University of Huddersfield, UK

‘Tax evasion and the various types of deviant behaviour that lead to unproductive entrepreneurship outcomes have long been considered harmful to economies around the world. In this light, this book, written by two leading scholars in the field, is undoubtedly a considerable contribution to the debate, especially when it comes to assessing the size of the shadow economy in various regions of the world and providing valuable policy suggestions.’
– Arnis Sauka, Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, Latvia

Contents: 1. Introduction PART I MEASUREMENT METHODS 2. Measuring the Shadow Economy: A Review of Indirect Methods 3. Measuring the Shadow Labour Force: A Review of Direct Survey Methods PART II THE SHADOW ECONOMY IN GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE 4. The Shadow Economy in Developing and Transition Economies 5. The Shadow Economy in Developed Countries PART III THE SHADOW LABOUR FORCE IN GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE 6. The Shadow Labour Force in Developing and Transition Economies 7. The Shadow Labour Force in Developed Countries PART IV TACKLING THE SHADOW ECONOMY AND SHADOW LABOUR FORCE 8. Current Policy Approaches 9. A Way Forward 10. Conclusions References Index