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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 11 July 2017

Joanna Shapland and Jason Heyes

Recent changes in the UK to the regulation and modes of work in the formal and informal economies are considered. Research in this field has tended to remain in silos (treating…

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Abstract

Purpose

Recent changes in the UK to the regulation and modes of work in the formal and informal economies are considered. Research in this field has tended to remain in silos (treating formal economy working conditions separately from research on the informal economy). The question is whether the means of work and benefits to the worker for formal and informal work are now as different as the former images of formal and informal economy work imply under a “jobs-for-life” economy. The purpose of this paper is to consider whether the current aim of government regulation of the informal economy – to formalise it – is actually of benefit to workers, as might be supposed.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper considers recent research findings on the formal and informal economy, using official government statistics for the UK and more detailed European studies on the informal economy.

Findings

This paper argues that formal employment in the UK is becoming more casualised, with less associated benefits to employees. Though it is still of benefit to the state to formalise informal work (to increase tax take), some of the links between formalisation and a good working environment for workers are being broken, which may lead to the informal economy becoming more popular and requiring different priorities in its regulation.

Originality/value

This paper argues that we need to change our assumptions and image of work in the formal economy, compared to that in the informal economy.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 37 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 11 July 2017

Jason Heyes and Joanna Shapland

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 37 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Article
Publication date: 1 August 2008

Paul Ponsaers, Joanna Shapland and Colin C. Williams

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the topic of the informal economy, exploring its definition from both economic and criminological standpoints. It seeks to consider…

1914

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the topic of the informal economy, exploring its definition from both economic and criminological standpoints. It seeks to consider possible linkages with organised crime and the conditions under which these may be facilitated, with reference to the papers in this double special issue.

Design/methodology/approach

The papers in this issue are deliberately from different methodological perspectives, in order to illustrate the need for multidisciplinarity to show both the extent of the informal and criminal economies and their links to geographical and social context.

Findings

As well as revealing the endemic nature of corruption in Ukrainian workplaces and the high levels of informal activity undertaken by workers the research found that many people wish for their workplace to become more regulated.

Research limitations/implications

The issue can only, for reasons of space, explore a number of facets of the informal economy. The nature of the informal economy depends upon place, time, social and ethnic context, and historical links and trade routes. The issue concentrates upon criminogenic potential, rather than the survival value of informal solutions or their place in cementing household and community economies and interactions.

Originality/value

The issue contains papers which reveal new theoretical insights on this rather unresearched and complex topic, as well as new empirical findings. It highlights the impact of internationalisation and globalisation.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 35 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 21 May 2012

David Smith

The chapter considers the change of position of the Home Office on the value of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in England and Wales which took place around 2003 after the end…

Abstract

The chapter considers the change of position of the Home Office on the value of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in England and Wales which took place around 2003 after the end of the Crime Reduction Programme (CRP). Before the CRP Home Office researchers had shown little interest in RCTs; after it, they came close to arguing that no other kinds of evaluation research were worth doing. This represented a reversal of a position that had dominated Home Office thinking on the issue for almost 30 years – that RCTs were in general impractical and unlikely to produce clear-cut results. This view was based in part on the experience of RCTs in the 1970s, which led influential researchers to conclude that the method could not be transferred from medicine to criminal justice. But, disappointed with the lack of definite results from the CRP, the Home Office turned back to RCTs as a potential source of certainty about what works. The chapter considers two recent scholarly exchanges on the question, in relation to an evaluation of a community crime reduction programme, for which an experimental design was attempted but not achieved, and to Lawrence Sherman's recent advocacy of RCTs and his use of research on restorative justice as an example of the successful use of the method. The chapter argues that the restorative justice research, while of very high quality, does not provide as clear an example of the use of an RCT as Sherman claims, and concludes with some reflections on the inherent difficulties of criminal justice evaluation, and on the lack of a predictable, rational relationship between research quality and policy influence.

Details

Perspectives on Evaluating Criminal Justice and Corrections
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-645-4

Article
Publication date: 1 August 2008

Gudrun Vande Walle

The informal economy is more than the inverse of the formalised economy, but is a dynamic environment. It is less limited by legal rules, state control, bureaucracy or tax…

1200

Abstract

Purpose

The informal economy is more than the inverse of the formalised economy, but is a dynamic environment. It is less limited by legal rules, state control, bureaucracy or tax regulation. On the other hand the informal market is less visible than the regular economy. The purpose of this paper is to find out how informal markets are currently developing.

Design/methodology/approach

This contribution is based on a literature review of primarily European work from scholars active in different disciplinary fields, concentrating upon presentations made during the seminars given for the EU Framework 6 CRIMPREV programme. It is structured using a matrix of potentially interesting variables: disciplinary interaction and the need for a multidisciplinary discourse; the position of nation states as a fundamental variable for the existence of the informal economy; general global economic dynamics and their implications for the concept of the informal economy; the interplay of formal, informal and criminal markets; the functionalities of informal markets for the classic survival economy; the dangerousness of wrong perceptions of informal markets and finally the contribution of different methodologies to the knowledge of the informal economy.

Research limitations/implications

The matrix is incomplete and further input is welcome.

Originality/value

This paper could be a start for the comparison of analyses of informal markets in time and space, without the limitations of the classic categories such as organised crime and in limiting definitions.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 35 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 29 August 2008

Tom Vander Beken and Stijn Van Daele

The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the potential of vulnerability studies of economic activities to study the relationship between organised crime and the economy and…

1503

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the potential of vulnerability studies of economic activities to study the relationship between organised crime and the economy and illustrate it by examples taken from a vulnerability study of the European waste management industry.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on both economical and criminological perspectives a scanning tool for assessing the vulnerability of economic sectors was developed and applied to a specific case.

Findings

Sector vulnerability studies belong to the wider family of criminal opportunity approaches, all of which aim to identify areas of current risk and future prevention. Sector vulnerability studies (vulnerability to organised crime and other risks) extend the range by bringing in economic sectors. Although starting from the analysis of the formal economy, sector vulnerability studies can provide insights concerning potential irregularities and opportunities for informal economies to flourish as well.

Originality/value

This paper addresses informal markets and the relationship between organised crime and the economy from a vulnerability perspective, focusing on the opportunities provided by licit economic activity. Although such opportunity approaches exist and have been applied to various cases before, there are only a few examples of its application to vulnerabilities to organised crime.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 35 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 29 August 2008

Teela Sanders

This paper aims to examine, from a global macro perspective, the relationships between commercial sex, regulatory system and shadow economies.

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine, from a global macro perspective, the relationships between commercial sex, regulatory system and shadow economies.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on eight years of research in the sex industries and literature from other sources that explore the nuances of the economic and social organisation of the sex markets in different countries.

Findings

First, a four point continuum is presented, based on the following types of economies: legal formal; legal informal; illegal informal and illegal criminal. Second, challenging principles that the sex industry is only “demand” driven, this paper looks at the nature of the sex industry, examining the dynamics of supply in the context of a prolific global shadow sex economy. Third, the concept of “supply” is broadened out to refer not only to women involved in selling direct and indirect sexual services but the legitimate and illegitimate service industries that are ancillary to the sex industry: namely: advertising, marketing, leisure industries, security, policing and welfare.

Originality/value

Contributing to the cultural analysis of the sex industry and drawing on original ethnographic observations, this paper stresses the relevance of the “supply” side of the sex industry, including ancillary industries that support the sex markets in the shadow economies.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 35 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 29 August 2008

Toby Seddon

The purpose of this paper is to review the literature on the connections between illegal drugs and the informal economy and consider this in the light of the increasing levels of…

4871

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review the literature on the connections between illegal drugs and the informal economy and consider this in the light of the increasing levels of global interconnectedness in recent decades.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a review of the empirical drugs literature with a primary focus on British‐based research and analysis of the impact of different aspects of globalization.

Findings

Patterns of heroin and crack‐cocaine use need to be understood in their social, economic and cultural context, particularly in relation to their location in the informal economy. Globalizing processes have profoundly shaped local drug problems over the last 30 years.

Practical implications

The governance of the drug problem needs to be reframed to take account of its social economic nature and global character. New ways of thinking are required to advance future research and policy.

Originality/value

The focus on the impact of globalizing processes is original and leads to some important new insights for future research and policy.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 35 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 August 2008

Peter Rodgers, Colin C. Williams and John Round

The purpose of this paper is to explore the criminal workplace activities of both employers and employees in Ukrainian enterprises. It challenges traditional definitions of…

1086

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the criminal workplace activities of both employers and employees in Ukrainian enterprises. It challenges traditional definitions of corruption and suggests that the practices that can be observed fit into the category of organised crime because of the country's economic framework. The paper also explores how the practices are partially a legacy of Soviet economic processes.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 700 household surveys were completed in three cities, Kyiv (where 450 surveys were completed), Uzhgorod (150) and Kharkiv (100). To complement these, approximately 25 in‐depth interviews were undertaken with workers in each region. Furthermore, ethnographic observations and “kitchen table” interviews also played an important role in the research. Although the research was oriented towards those working in informal economies, business owners (both formal and informal) were also interviewed.

Findings

As well as revealing the endemic nature of corruption in Ukrainian workplaces and the high levels of informal activity undertaken by workers, the research found that many people wish for their workplace to become more regulated.

Research limitations/implications

Further interviews could have been carried out with state officials and in more locations. The implications are multiple but mainly they demonstrate the difficulty that those charged with economic reform in Ukraine must face.

Originality/value

It is one of the first studies to explore these issues in Ukraine using a variety of research methods.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 35 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 29 August 2008

Hans Nelen

The aim of this paper is to scrutinize the Dutch property market from the angle of crime‐inducing conditions and circumstances.

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Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to scrutinize the Dutch property market from the angle of crime‐inducing conditions and circumstances.

Design/methodology/approach

The perspective adopted is in line with recent developments in the study of crime and crime prevention, which focus not so much on perpetrators, as on the opportunities they have to commit a criminal offence.

Findings

Despite the exploratory character of the analysis, it can be concluded that the real estate sector lends itself very well to an entwining of regular and irregular activities. Real estate has become booming business, attracting domestic and foreign investment. The market is closed, dominated by old boy networks, with possibilities to conceal irregularities. Regulations, law enforcement and (both formal and informal) control seem to be inadequate. Hence, it is less transparent than other markets and enables legitimate and illegitimate entrepreneurs to meet, co‐operate and share expertise and knowledge.

Practical implications

Strategies to prevent serious forms of crime in the real estate sector vary from self‐regulation and administrative measures to public and private policing. The various public and private institutions tend to stick to a primarily domestically oriented approach, whilst social research in this area is still predominantly based on national studies. The author recommends that comparative, multidisciplinary empirical research on irregularities and crime in the real estate sector in various (European) countries needs to be conducted.

Originality/value

This is one of the first attempts to apply principles of analysis of potential crime‐inducing vulnerabilities to the real estate sector.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 35 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

Keywords

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