Off the Books

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Off the Books

A payment for which no record is kept. Off the books payments may simply result from poor record keeping. However, the term connotes illegal or unethical payments. For example, a bribe may be kept off the books.
References in periodicals archive ?
In the first section of this paper, therefore, the ways in which entrepreneurship has been conventionally depicted in the literature will be reviewed so as to display how the wholesome, clean and pure narratives of entrepreneurship that dominate the literature have written out off-the-books entrepreneurs from their portrayals followed in the second section by a review of what is known about the relationship between entrepreneurship and off-the-books endeavor.
Before commencing, however, it is necessary to define what is here meant by off-the-books work or what has been variously called "informal employment," the "underground economy," "shadow work" and "hidden sector" to name but a few of the nouns and adjectives employed.
Unlike the off-the-books economy where there is a strong consensus regarding what it is, entrepreneurship has proven far harder to pin down.
Viewed in this manner, it quickly becomes apparent why off-the-books entrepreneurs have been written out of mainstream entrepreneurship.
To achieve this, I here focus upon unraveling the nature of entrepreneurship in Ukraine so as to bring to the fore how many entrepreneurs engage in off-the-books transactions in their daily practices in order to challenge the notion that these are super-heroic figures.
Here, I wish to further contribute to this tarnishing of the entrepreneur by taking as a starting point the "old adage that if you scratch an entrepreneur you will find a 'spiv'" (Burns, 2001: 4) and studying whether entrepreneurs engage in off-the-books transactions.
In most countries, a significant proportion of economic endeavor takes place in the off-the-books economy.
Indeed, in recent decades, it has been increasingly recognized that many of these self-employed operating off-the-books display entrepreneurial qualities (Browne, 2004; Cross, 2000; De Soto, 1989, 2001; Franks, 1994; ILO, 2002a; Rakowski, 1994).
Indeed, in transition economies, this representation of the off-the-books economy both as a site of, as well as "seedbed" for, entrepreneurship has been widespread for some time (Smallbone and Welter, 2001; Szelenyi, 1988).
When coupled with the fact that official employment declined by about one-third between 1990 and 1999 (Cherneyshev, 2006) and that 73% of Ukrainians assert that they receive insufficient from their main income to buy what they really need (Rose, 2005), it would be surprising if off-the-books transactions were not rife in contemporary Ukraine.
Until now, however, and despite numerous contemporary surveys of the Ukraine labor market, including the Ukrainian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (Brown, Earle and Vakhitov, 2006; Kupets, 2006; Lehmann and Terrell, 2006; Lehmann, Pignatti and Wadsworth, 2006), the Labor Force Survey-based modular Decent Work Survey, the Enterprise Labor Flexibility and Security Survey and the People's Security Survey (Cherneyshev, 2006; Standing, 2005; Standing and Zoldos, 2001), no attempt has been made to directly collect data on off-the-books working practices (Dean, 2002).
Indeed, for our purpose here which is to investigate the proportion of businesses that start-up in the off-the-books economy, such indirect proxy indicators are of little use beyond suggesting that a significant proportion of business might be operating in this sphere.