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Book Cover
Author Venkatesh, Sudhir Alladi, author

Title Off the books : the underground economy of the urban poor / Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh
Published Cambridge, Massachusetts : Harvard University Press, [2006]
Online access available from:
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Description 1 online resource (xix, 426 pages)
Contents Prologue -- 1. Living underground -- 2. Home at work -- 3. The entrepreneur -- 4. The street hustler -- 5. The preacher -- 6. Our gang -- 7. As the shady world turns -- Notes -- Acknowledgments -- Index
Summary Sudhir Venkatesh takes us into Maquis Park, a poor black neighborhood on Chicago's Southside, to explore the desperate, dangerous, and remarkable ways in which a community survives. We find there an entire world of unregulated, unreported, and untaxed work, a system of living off the books that is daily life in the ghetto. From women who clean houses and prepare lunches for the local hospital to small-scale entrepreneurs like the mechanic who works in an alley; from the preacher who provides mediation services to the beauty parlor owner who rents her store out for gambling parties; and from street vendors hawking socks and incense to the drug dealing and extortion of the local gang, we come to see how these activities form the backbone of the ghetto economy.--From publisher description
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index
Notes Print version record
Subject Informal sector (Economics) -- Illinois -- Chicago.
Poor -- Illinois -- Chicago.
Form Electronic book
ISBN 0674044649 (electronic book)
9780674044647 (electronic book)