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Illegitimate wage practices in Eastern Europe: - The case of 'envelope wages'

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  • Colin. C. Williams

Abstract

To evaluate the prevalence in Eastern Europe of a little discussed illegitimate wage practice in which employers pay their formal employees both a declared wage and an undeclared ‘envelope wage’, an extensive survey involving 10,671 face-to-face interviews in eleven post-socialist societies is here reported. The finding is that 10 per cent of all employees received envelope wages during the last 12 months amounting on average to two-fifths of their gross annual wage. Revealing how although unevenly distributed, this wage practice is nonetheless ubiquitous throughout Eastern Europe, the paper concludes by briefly reviewing policy options for tackling this labour arrangement.

Suggested Citation

  • Colin. C. Williams, 2008. "Illegitimate wage practices in Eastern Europe: - The case of 'envelope wages'," Journal of East European Management Studies, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 13(3), pages 253-270.
  • Handle: RePEc:rai:joeems:doi_10.1688/1862-0019_jeems_2008_03_williams
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    7. Colin C. Williams & John Round, 2007. "Beyond Negative Depictions of Informal Employment: Some Lessons from Moscow," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 44(12), pages 2321-2338, November.
    8. de Juan, Ana & Lasheras, Miguel A & Mayo, Rafaela, 1994. "Voluntary Tax Compliant Behavior of Spanish Income Tax Payers," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 49(Supplemen), pages 90-105.
    9. Kirchler,Erich, 2007. "The Economic Psychology of Tax Behaviour," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521876742.
    10. John Round & Colin C. Williams & Peter Rodgers, 2008. "Corruption in the post-Soviet workplace: the experiences of recent graduates in contemporary Ukraine," Work, Employment & Society, British Sociological Association, vol. 22(1), pages 149-166, March.
    11. Colin C. Williams & John Round, 2007. "Re‐thinking the Nature of the Informal Economy: Some Lessons from Ukraine," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(2), pages 425-441, June.
    12. Colin C. Williams, 2006. "The Hidden Enterprise Culture," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 3948.
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    1. Colin C Williams & Junhong Yang, 2017. "Tackling falsely-declared salaries in Bulgaria: evidence from a 2015 survey," Economic Alternatives, University of National and World Economy, Sofia, Bulgaria, issue 3, pages 333-351, September.
    2. Magdalena Anton (Musat) & Nicoleta Luminita Popescu (Groaznicu) & Oana Camelia Iacob & Sorin Adrian Ciupitu, 2022. "Measurement Of The Underground Economy With The Help Of The Managers Of Economic Entities," Annals - Economy Series, Constantin Brancusi University, Faculty of Economics, vol. 1, pages 254-260, February.
    3. Abbi M Kedir & Meryem Duygun Fethi & Colin C Williams, 2011. "Evaluating tax evasion in the European Union: a case study of the prevalence and character of ‘envelope wage’ payments," Discussion Papers in Economics 11/33, Division of Economics, School of Business, University of Leicester, revised Jun 2011.
    4. Williams Colin C. & Bezeredi Slavko, 2018. "Explaining and Tackling Under-Declared Employment in FYR Macedonia: The Employers Perspective," South East European Journal of Economics and Business, Sciendo, vol. 13(2), pages 19-31, December.
    5. Colin C. Williams, 2014. "Explaining cross-national variations in the prevalence of envelope wages: some lessons from a 2013 Eurobarometer survey," Industrial Relations Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(6), pages 524-542, November.
    6. Putniņš, Tālis J. & Sauka, Arnis, 2015. "Measuring the shadow economy using company managers," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 471-490.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Envelope wages; informal economy; shadow sector; tax compliance; undeclared work; Eastern Europe;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • M10 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - General
    • M20 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Economics - - - General
    • P31 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Socialist Enterprises and Their Transitions

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