Shapland, J., Albrecht, H.-J., Ditton, J., & Godefroy, T. (Eds.). (2003). The Informal Economy : Threat and Opportunity in the City (Vol. K 114) Criminological Research Reports from the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law. Freiburg i. Br.: edition iuscrim.
The informal economy is a constant, though only partially visible, undercurrent of social and economic life of European cities. Through its more romantic and touristic guises of street trading, markets and selling roses in restaurants, its seedier links with drugs and prostitution, and the economic toe-hold it provides for immigrants, young people and students, it links with the formal economy and with the forces of formal and informal social control. It is now a major factor in the economies of European countries and in the fight against crime, particularly organised crime. Yet the extent of research on the informal economy is meagre and research has tended to remain within disciplinary and national boundaries. Leading European researchers on the informal economy were brought together to discuss the current manifestations of the informal economy and theoretical frameworks for understanding and coping with it. They also designed and oversaw two pilot projects to map the extent and nature of the informal economy in two European cities. This volume provides the first overall explanation and overview of the role the informal economy plays in Europe, through individual papers and the reports of those projects. It is essential for all those interested in the ways that European cities work; in transnational crime, including drugs; and in the economic opportunities being used by those on the margins of society.