THE HIDDEN ENTERPRISE CULTURE OF MOSCOW: ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND OFF-THE-BOOKS WORKING PRACTICES
COLIN C. WILLIAMS
Even though entrepreneurs are commonly depicted as risk takers, little evaluation has occurred on whether they weigh the costs of being caught and the level of punishments, and engage in off-the-books working practices. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the degree to which entrepreneurs engage in such off-the-books work. Reporting a survey conducted in Moscow during late 2005 and early 2006 of 81 entrepreneurs (defined here as individuals starting-up an enterprise in the past three years), just 3.7 percent are found to operate on a wholly legitimate basis. The remaining 96.3 percent have not registered their business, have no license to trade and conduct all of their trade on an off-the-books basis. The outcome is a call to move beyond the wholesome and virtuous ideal-type of legitimate super heroes that pervade textbook depictions of entrepreneurs and toward a fuller understanding of the lived realities of entrepreneurship.
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