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A guide to major reference works, scholarly article databases and data sources in Economics.

About this Course Guide

What is the Underground Economy

The Underground Economy, also know as the Informal Economy or Shadow Economy, according to Investopedia can be defined as the following :  

  • The underground economy refers to illegal economic activity. Transactions in the underground economy are illegal either because the good or service being traded is itself illegal or because an otherwise licit transaction does not comply with government reporting requirements. The first category includes drugs and prostitution in most jurisdictions. The second includes untaxed labor and sales, as well as smuggling goods to avoid duties. The underground economy is also referred to as the shadow economy, black market (not gray market) and informal economy. Source: Investopedia

This research guide groups various resources that can help with finding information on obscure topics and underground topics in economics. 

Image Source
Wikimedia Commons


Not all information is available ... 

When doing research on topics that are underground or obscure, you should keep in mind the following : 

  • Your topics may not be well-documented and thus, little may have been published on your topics 
  • You will have to QUESTION every piece of information that you find
  • You will have to look at many different types of sources, such as, but not limited to :
    • News : Newspapers, News networks (Radio-Canada, France 24, etc.), News feeds, etc. 
    • Social media : Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc. 
    • Blogs : Wordpress, Blogger, Tumblr, etc. 
    • Video services : YouTube, Google Video, Vimeo, dailymotion, etc. 
  • Language skills : if you read in multiple languages, search in those languages

Supplementary tip : Ask yourself the following question when looking for a particular information : 

  • If I were in their position, would I want / allow for such an information to be published?

Image Source
Wikimedia Commons


Pro Searching Tips: AND / OR 

Example search string :

  • ("la familia michoacana" OR "la familia michoacana" OR "la famille michoacana") AND (dinero OR argent OR money) AND (religion OR catholique OR catholic OR católico OR catolicismo OR Catholicism OR catholicisme)

Search operators of the search string :

  • Parentheses 
    • Helps visualize the order of the search (kind of like order of operations in algebra)
  • Quotation marks
    • Force the search engine to search for our keywords / ideas in that exact order
  • OR
    • Link synonyms or like concepts together 
  • AND
    • Links key / principal ideas together
    • ​See the Advanced Google Searching section of this guide below. 

Image Source
Library of Prince George Community College


Advanced Google Searching : 

  • Search within a specific website : 
    • [Insert keyword here] 
    • [Insert keyword here] 
    • [Insert keyword here] / site:gov
    • [Insert keyword here]
  • Search for a specific file type : 
    • [Insert keyword here] filetype:pdf 
    • [Insert keyword here] filetype:ppt 
    • [Insert keyword here] filetype:doc
  • Other advanced Google search techniques : 


News & Newspapers Resources


Background information to the Underground Economy

Liaison Librarian for Economics and International Development

Librarian Office Hours: 

Date / Time

Tuesday 17 September 2019 from 13:00 to 15:00
Wednesday 25 September 2019 from 14:00 to 16:00


Humanities and Social Sciences Library (McLennan)

Ask for

Michael David MILLER at the Library Services Desk 

WorldCat: McGill Library's Catalogue

Find Books, Films, Music and MORE!


Maybe try an Advanced Search?

Search WorldCat Discovery for McGill's collection of resources, both print and digitial: 

  • scholarly and popular booksWorldCat Discovery Image
  • scholarly journals, magazines and newspapers
  • films, music and partitions
  • maps, microfilm and data

NOTE: This search automatically EXCLUDES journal articles.

Selection of Underground Econonmy Materials at the McGill University Library

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