This book examines the nature and regulation of the informal economy by means of a collective case study in a highly regulated Western country. The book, situated at the intersection of criminology and sociology, investigates the relation between formal, informal and criminal work in three urban and rural labour markets (seasonal work, street trade and sex work) alongside the impact of state policies on informality. Boels uncovers the differential position authorities take regarding these labour markets, notwithstanding the presence of informality and often vulnerable position of workers in each one of them. With a distinctive focus on informal workers, and through in-depth interviews, this study explores the life and work of informal workers, including their experiences with regulators, their motivations for working informally and their perceptions of state policy. In short, this book gives a voice to often ignored but crucial participants of the informal economy. The detailed discussion of the results and the links to theoretical frameworks will ensure this book is of particular interest to scholars of urban economics and governance, criminology, and sociology.
Dominique Boels is a researcher at Ghent University, Belgium, specialising in the policing of social fraud. She is assistant editor of the European Journal of Policing Studies.
Chapter 1. Introduction.- Chapter 2. The informal economy in Western Europe.- Chapter 3. Seasonal work in fruit-growing and the informal economy.- Chapter 5. Prostitution and the informal economy.- Chapter 6. The nature of the informal economy.- Chapter 7. Conclusions.