The aim of the GREY project is to provide concrete policy recommendations, based on rigorous empirical evidence, for those seeking to tackle the undeclared economy in Bulgaria, Croatia and FYR Macedonia. The key objectives of our project are:to conduct evaluations of existing policy measures directed at enabling the formalization of undeclared work:
- to identify good practices and assess the extent to which they might be transferable to other countries or contexts;
- to develop innovative policy measures and test their effectiveness at tackling undeclared employment in the EU-27; and
- to train a generation of experts who will be able to act as advisors and implementers of ambitious projects aimed at curbing undeclared work.
Across Europe and beyond, many earn incomes that are hidden from, or unregistered by, the state for tax, social, security and/or labour law purposes. Such non-compliance is not a minority practice. A recent OECD study (2009) found that out of a global working population of some 3 billion people, around two-thirds (1.8 billion) work in the undeclared economy. Across the 28 Member States of the European Union (EU-28) and Norway, as well as the EU Candidate countries, governments are developing and testing policy measures to enable the formalization of undeclared work. The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions has created a ‘knowledge-bank’, containing over 200 ‘good practice’ policy measures from across Europe. Until now, however, there have been few rigorous evaluations of these measures and analyses of their transferability to other countries.
Empirically, this project fills that gap by conducting detailed evaluations of key policy measures so as to understand their effectiveness at tackling undeclared work. In doing so, this project provides important policy insights for tackling undeclared work across not only South-eastern Europe, but also EU-27, EU-candidate countries and others beyond Europe.