Summary: This book is about Magda and Jacek and millions of others like them, who earn a living working full- or part-time in Europe's untaxed markets for goods, services, and labor. Magda was certified as a hairdresser years ago, and she's very proud of the salon apprenticeship she did shortly after. She learned a lot and made good friends but was never fully comfortable working for somebody else. Jacek's clients pay him in cash, and he pays his men in cash as well. He sometimes needs to show a license to get the trade price on parts and materials. But he can keep it up-to-date by declaring only part of what he actually earns to the tax office. This book ventures a general conclusion about what policy makers can do to bring more economic activity in from the shadow: Although it may be necessary to improve the structural incentives created by taxation, social protection policies, and labor market regulation, doing so is not sufficient for substantive improvement to be achieved. To back up this general conclusion, the book presents a large body of evidence indicating that much more than the fairly mechanical incentive structures of taxation, social policy, and labor market regulation is at work in shaping the circumstances that lead people into the shadowy unregulated and untaxed markets for goods, services, and labor.
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