The Hidden Enterprise Culture
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The Hidden Enterprise Culture

Entrepreneurship in the Underground Economy

Colin C. Williams

Portraying how entrepreneurs often start out conducting some or all of their trade on an ‘off-the-books’ basis and how many continue to do so once they become established, this book provides the first detailed account of the vast and ubiquitous hidden enterprise culture existing in the interstices of western economies. Until now, the role of the underground economy in enterprise creation, entrepreneurship and small business development has been largely ignored despite its widespread prevalence and importance.
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Chapter 14: Co-ordinating Government Thought and Action

Colin C. Williams


INTRODUCTION Besides providing incentives to help businesses start off on a formal footing and transfer underground work into the legitimate realm, and engendering commitment to the benefits of formal employment, it might be assumed that the final piece required in the public policy jigsaw is the co-ordination of government strategy and operations if the underground economy is to be effectively tackled. In other words, there is a common assumption that the presence of disjointed and fragmented policy approaches across government is less effective in dealing with the underground economy than co-ordinated government thought and action (for example, Caianiello and Voltura, 2003; Grabiner, 2000; Meldolesi and Ruvolo, 2003; Small Business Council, 2004). This chapter evaluates the evidence of whether this is the case. To do this, two national governments with starkly contrasting approaches so far as ‘joining up’ their strategy and operations when tackling the underground economy are evaluated. First, there is the UK with an institutional infrastructure composed of a multitude of disjointed agencies and, which despite recent attempts to improve co-ordination, remains essentially a ‘silos’ approach with only limited co-operation between the plethora of government institutions involved. Other social partners, moreover, are largely absent. Second, and the polar opposite so far as joined-up thought and action is concerned, is the case of France where there is a highly co-ordinated approach to both thought and action with regard to the underground economy and full integration of a wide array of social partners at both the national, regional and local...

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