Title: Entrepreneurship and the off-the-books economy: some lessons from England

Authors: Colin C. Williams

Addresses: Centre for Regional Economic and Enterprise Development (CREED), School of Management, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S1 4DT, UK

Abstract: This article evaluates whether entrepreneurs trade off-the-books and how this varies across populations. Reporting the results of 811 face-to-face interviews in English affluent and deprived localities, the finding is that even though only a relatively small proportion of all off-the-books work is conducted by nascent and established entrepreneurs, although the share is higher in affluent populations, some three-quarters of business start-ups and the established self-employed trade wholly or partially off-the-books, and this figure is even higher in deprived populations. The outcome is a call to reposition the hidden enterprise culture more centre-stage in discussions of entrepreneurship and enterprise development.

Keywords: business start-ups; England; enterprise development; entrepreneurship; informal sector; shadow economy; tax compliance; underground economy; off-the-books work; self-employed; hidden enterprise culture.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMED.2009.026308

International Journal of Management and Enterprise Development, 2009 Vol.7 No.4, pp.429 - 444

Published online: 06 Jun 2009 *

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