The phenomenon of 'undeclared work' is known under a broad variety of different
names. Terms such as 'black work', 'informal economy', 'shadow economy',
'moonlighting' and many others have been used to describe the phenomenon or
parts of it.
For various reasons, knowledge of the extent of undeclared work within an
economy is of considerable political interest. Undeclared economic activities
are, on the one hand, unlawful behaviour creating considerable costs on several
levels: tax authorities receive less revenue in the form of income tax or value
added taxes; social security institutions do not get contributions and
undeclared activities partly inhibit the creation of regular employment with
full social protection. Yet on the other hand, undeclared work is part of the
economy and its importance should therefore be estimated as accurately as
The transformation of undeclared work into formal work is an important issue
for the current employment policy of the European Commission. Transforming
informal work into formal work can be an important step towards the fulfilment
of the EU employment goals set out in the Lisbon strategy.
Between the 25th of May and the 30th of June 2007, the European Commission
carried out a 'Eurobarometer Survey' on the sensitive topic of undeclared work.
26.755 EU citizens aged 15 and over living in the 27 EU Member States were
interviewed and asked if they had already taken part in undeclared work. In the
majority of countries, this was the first time this direct method had been
tested, which makes of this Eurobarometer wave a pilot study.
According to the survey, undeclared work is a widespread phenomenon in the
European Union. One on four EU citizens is thought to be involved either as a
provider of undeclared work (supply side) or as buyer of undeclared goods or
services (demand side). The groups of people which respondents most often
associate with undeclared work are the same in almost all countries: the
unemployed, the selfemployed and illegal immigrants.
AplusA-online.de - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work