Illegal rural enterprise

Gerard McElwee, Robert Smith, Peter Somerville

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter reports on an ongoing study into illegal and illicit forms of enterprise we have encountered in rural areas during our research into rural entrepreneurship. Where one finds entrepreneurial activity in a given society, inevitably, there will also be evidence of related criminal activity. Since the seminal work of William Baumol (1990) in relation to destructive and unproductive entrepreneurship and in particular his discussion on the moral orientation of entrepreneurial activity, consideration of moral and ethical dimensions of entrepreneurship is increasing (see Anderson and Smith, 2007). In addition, consideration of criminal entrepreneurship is also increasing (Venkatesh, 2002; Frith and McElwee 2008, 2009; Gottschalk, 2009; Smith, 2009; Gottschalk, 2010a, 2010b; Smith, 2011). Crime is viewed as a predominantly urban problem and the academic literature of entrepreneurship and crime has been criticized as being urbancentric. Entrepreneurship and crime manifest themselves differently in rural areas. Therefore, in this chapter we investigate the concept of 'Illegal Rural Enterprise' (IRE) and discuss why this neologism makes an important and necessary contribution to the literature of both entrepreneurship and criminology. To do this we present a review of the literature, articulating what we know and identifying gaps in the literature as well as detailing practical/policy implications, thus answering the all-important organizing question of - what do we need to know?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Research On Entrepreneurship What We Know and What We Need to Know
EditorsAlain Fayolle
Place of PublicationCheltenham, UK
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
ISBN (Print)9780857936912
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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