Informal Workers Across Europe: Evidence From 30 Countries

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The European Social Survey data are used to analyze informal employment at the main job in 30 countries. Overall, informality decreases from South to West to East to North. However, dependent work without contract is more prevalent in Eastern Europe than in the West, except for Ireland, the UK and Austria. Between 2004 and 2009, no cases found when unemployment and dependent informality rates in a country went up together, suggesting that work without contract is pro-cyclical in Europe. Dependent informality rate is inversely related to skills (measured by either schooling or occupation). The low-educated, the young (especially students), the elderly, and persons with disabilities are more likely to work informally, other things equal.