A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO EXAMINING THE SHADOW ECONOMY
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The article provides a brief retrospection of the methods which are applied within the framework of various paradigm approaches for studying and explaining shadow economy practices in Europe and worldwide. The author offers and explains an original methodology for researching shadow economy, based on her experience with one of the Bulgarian teams working in the sphere of measuring illegal economic activities. The article proves that due to the complex and controversial nature of informal economic activities examining them requires the application of a holistic method. For this reason a combined research strategy has been developed. It uses a unified definition of shadow economy and is realized through a system of related sociological surveys while the primary, raw information is obtained through qualitative and quantitative methods. The overall conclusion resulting from the applied research strategy is that the study of shadow economy with the help of sociological approaches is methodologically consistent and constructive – both with respect to obtaining knowledge and the possibilities for developing and correcting national policies.