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Research: "The Underground Economy and Low-Income Men and Women"

University of Michigan

  • Program Education
  • Program Area Expanding Economic Opportunity
  • Grant Amount $26,979
  • Grant Period March 1, 2002–June 30, 2003
  • Location Ann Arbor, MI, United States
  • Geographic Focus United States

About this grant

The labor force participation rate of 16- to 24-year-old men with a high school diploma or less has been declining for the past two decades, with the largest decline occurring among young black men. This trend does not bode well for these men, or the children for whom they are responsible. Many experts believe that low-income men and women view the informal, or underground, economy as an alternative or supplement to work in the formal job market. Funding will support a review of the research conducted during the past 30 years concerning low-income people in the informal economy. The review will analyze circumstances such as the processes of entry into and exit out of the informal economy; the social mechanisms, factors and conditions that facilitate or inhibit entry and exit; and perceived benefits from participating in this sector. The review will also consider the social, cultural and psychological factors that influence participation in the informal economy. A final report will be produced and disseminated.