Sauka Arnis

Sauka Arnis

Professor. Head of the Centre for Sustainable Business. Department of Business and Management

Arnis Sauka is a Professor and the Director of the Centre for Sustainable Business at Stockholm School of Economics in Riga (Latvia), and a founding member of IfM Research Fellow Network (Bonn, Germany). He has a Ph.D. from the University of Siegen (Germany) and has been a Visiting Scholar at Jönköping International Business School (Sweden) and University College London (UK). 

Arnis is a head of the State Competitiveness Council, head of the Council of Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences. He also hosts the talk show Money talks on the portal, featuring discussions and interviews with prominent Latvian economists, politicians, entrepreneurs and representatives of non-governmental organizations. 

His research findings, which deal with the shadow economy, tax morale, productivity and competitiveness, social responsibility, internationalisation of companies and entrepreneurship policies, have been published in leading international peer-reviewed journals including Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, Journal of Business Ethics, International Small Business Journal and Journal of Comparative Economics as well as number of edited books and book chapters published by Springer, Routledge, Edward Elgar, IGI Global, Blackwell and Peter Lang. Drawing on his academic work, Arnis has been extensively involved in applied research. This has included contracted reports for the OECD and European Commission as well as for various industry associations and NGOs. Arnis Sauka is co-author of the annual Shadow Economy Index for the Baltic Countries (with Prof. Tālis J. Putniņš, since 2009), author of the annual FICIL Sentiment Index (in cooperation with Foreign Investors Council in Latvia, since 2015), author of the annual study on the Shadow Economy in the Construction Industry in Latvia (in cooperation with the Partnership of Latvian Construction Entrepreneurs, 2015--2019). He has participated in and/ or acted as a project manager in several big scale international projects.

Arnis is an Expert in Management Science and an Expert in Economics at the Latvian Council for Science (since 2011), a member of the promotion committee at RISEBA University of Applied Sciences as well as a member of joint Professors’ Council of RISEBA University of Applied Sciences, BA School of Business and Finance and Ventspils University of Applied Sciences. He is a board member of NGO BASE (Business Against the Shadow Economy) (since 2015).

Arnis has also been involved in management and consultancy activities, including working as Vice Rector for Studies and Research at Ventspils University College (2011-2013). He served as a board member of the Foreign Investment Council in Latvia (FICIL) (2019-2022. From 2011-2014 he was Advisor to the Minister of Health on Financial and Economic Issues. He has organized various events, including academic and applied conferences, workshops, seminars, etc., as well as is a frequent speaker in the national media commenting on economic and business-related issues.


Refereed journal articles

Polese, A., T. Tokyzhanova, G.M. Moise, T. Aguzzi, T. Kerikmae, A. Sagynbaeva, A. Sauka,  O. Seliverstova, O. Lysa, A. Kussaiynkyzy (2023). Why shadow economy and informality should be separated as concepts: results and implications of the shadow economy survey in the post-Soviet region. Studia Politica. Romanian Political Science Review, 23:1.

Polese, A., G.M. Moise, T. Tokyzhanova, T. Aguzzi, T. Kerikmae, A. Sagynbaeva, A. Sauka and O. Seliverstova (2023). Informality versus shadow economy: reflecting on the first results of a manager’s survey in Kyrgyzstan. Central Asian Survey. 42(1), 149-170.

De Massis, A., A. Sauka, U. Stephan, Welter, F. (2022), Von einer Krise zur nächsten? Familienunternehmen im 21. Jahrhundert. Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik. 23(4), 1–3.

Polese, A., G.M. Moise, O. Lysa, T. Kerikmae, A. Sauka and O. Seliverstova (2022). Presenting the Results of the Shadow Economy Survey in Ukraine while Reflecting on the Future(s) of Informality Studies. Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe. 30(1), 101-123.

Chauhan, H., Kaļķis, H. and A Sauka (2022), Intra-Organizational Competition Between Employees Effecting Entrepreneurial Intention for Further Business Growth. Humanities and Social Sciences Latvia. 30 (1,2), 38-51.

Putnins, T. and A. Sauka (2020). Why Does Entrepreneurial Orientation Affect Company Performance? Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal. 

Mickiewicz, T., A. Rebmann and A. Sauka (2019), To Pay or not to Pay? Business Owners’ Tax Morale: Testing a Neo- Institutional Framework in a Transition Environment. Journal of Business Ethics, 157(1), 75-93.

Mačtama А. and A. Sauka (2019) Developing Local Entrepreneurship Ecosystems by Foreign Investment. Foresight and STI Governance, 13: 4, 35-46.

Mickiewicz, T., A. Sauka and U. Stephan (2016), On the Compatibility of Benevolence and Self-Interest:  Philanthropy and Entrepreneurial Orientation. International Small Business Journal, 34(3), 303-328.

Putnins, T. and A. Sauka (2015), Measuring the Shadow Economy Using Company Managers. Journal of Comparative Economics, 43 (2015), 471-490.

Sauka, A. (2015), Measuring the Competitiveness of Latvian Companies. Baltic Journal of Economics, 14:1-2, 140-158.

Sauka, A. and F. Welter (2014), Determinants of Business Insolvencies During Economic Growth and Recession in Latvia. Journal of Baltic Studies, 45:3.

Sauka, A. (2012) Petter Gottschalk, Entrepreneurship and Organised Crime. Entrepreneurs in Illegal Business. International Small Business Journal, 30:99.

Putnins, T. and A. Sauka (2011) Size and Determinants of Shadow Economies in the Baltic States. Baltic Journal of Economics, 11(2), 5-25.

Aidis, R. T. Mickiewicz and A. Sauka (2011) Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses’ Growth Expectations and Financial Performance in Latvia: Does Ethnicity Matter? Journal of Baltic Studies, 42:3.


Mets, T., A. Sauka and D. Purg (2018) (Eds). Entrepreneurship in Central and Eastern Europe. Development through Internationalisation. Routedge.

Sauka, A. and A. Chepurenko (2017) (Eds.), Entrepreneurship in Transition Economies. Diversity, Trends, and Perspectives. Springer. 

Sauka, A., F. Schneider and C. Williams (2016) (Eds.), Entrepreneurship and the Shadow Economy. Edward Elgar.

Smallbone, D., M. Virtanen and A. Sauka (2016) (Eds.), Entrepreneurship: Innovation and Regional Development. Edward Elgar.

Sauka, A. and B. Rivža (Eds.) (2014) Challenges of Economy and Entrepreneurship in Latvia. Ventspils, Ventspils Augstskola. (in Latvian)

Sauka, A. (2013) Case Studies of Latvian Entrepreneurs: for Lecturers, Scientists and Practitioners. Latvia: SSE Riga. (in Latvian)

Sauka, A., et. al. (2011) Guide for New Entrepreneurs. Riga, Latvia: SSE Riga.(in Latvian)

Sauka, A. (2008), Productive, Unproductive and Destructive Entrepreneurship: A Theoretical and Empirical Exploration. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang GmbH.

Baltrušaitytė-Axelson, J., A. Sauka, and F. Welter (2008), Nascent Entrepreneurship in Latvia. Riga, Latvia: SSE Riga.


Chapters in books

Davidescu, M., T. Putnins and A. Sauka (2022) Uncovering the main characteristics of shadow economies in Romania and Moldova for strengthening the labour market resilience. In Leitao, J. and Ratten, V. (Eds.) Strategic Innovation: Research Perspectives on Entrepreneurship and Resilience. Springer.

Putnins, T., A. Sauka and M. Davidescu (2019) Shadow Economy Index for Moldova and Romania. In Ratten, V., Jones, P., Braga, V., Marques, C. (Eds.). Subsistence Entrepreneurship. The Interplay of Collaborative Innovation, Sustainability and Social Goals. Springer.

Sauka, A. (2018) Internationalization of Laima in Asia, Russia and US markets. In Mets, T., A. Sauka and D. Purg (Eds.), Internationalization Pathways of Companies from Central and Eastern Europe. Routledge.

Putnins, T. and A. Sauka (2016) The components and determinants of the shadow economy: Evidence from the Baltic countries. In Sauka, A. F. Schneider and C. Williams (Eds) Entrepreneurship and the Shadow Economy. Edward Elgar.

Sauka, A. and L. Auza (2015) Internationalisation Strategies of Latvia Entrepreneurs: Cases of Stenders, Munio Candela, Trousers London and Primekss. In Farihna, L., J. Fereirra, H. Birkbeck and S. Bagchi- Sen (Eds) Handbook of Research on Global Competitive Advantage through Innovation and Entrepreneurship. IGI Global.

Sauka, A. and F. Welter (2014) Furnitura Ltd. In J. Hayton, C. Salvato and M. Manimala (Eds.) Global Entrepreneurship. Case Studies of Entrepreneurial Firms Operation Around the World. Routledge.

Sauka, A. and F. Welter (2014) From the advanced transition environment to the international markets: key opportunities and challenges for Madara Cosmetics. In Thai, M. and E. Turkina (Eds) Internationalization of Firms from Economies of Transition: The Effects of Politico-economic Swift. Edward Elgar.

Sauka, A. (2013) Hidden Champions from Latvia, in McKiernan, P. and D. Purg (Eds.) ‘Hidden Champions in CEE and Turkey- Carving out global niche’. Springer.

Sauka, A. and F. Welter (2012) Born Green and Global: the Case of MADARA Cosmetics, in D. Kariv, Female Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation. An International Overview. New York/ London: Routledge.

Sauka, A., A. Timofejevs and R. Moore (2011) EWaiter, In S. Kraus (Ed.) Entrepreneurship Fallstudien. Unternehmensgrundung, Intrapreneurship und Innovationsmanagement. Verlag/Wien: Springer.

Sauka, A. and F. Welter (2011) Mentalities and Mindsets - The Difficulties of Entrepreneurship Policies in the Latvian Context. In F. Welter and D. Smallbone (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Entrepreneurship Policies in Central and Eastern Europe. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Dainov, E. and A. Sauka (2010) Managers and Entrepreneurs in Creative and Knowledge-Intensive Industries: What Determines Their Location? Toulouse, Helsinki, Budapest, Riga and Sofia. In S. Musterd and A. Murie (Eds.) Making Competitive Cities. Wiley: Blackwell.

Sauka, A. and F. Welter (2008) Taking advantage of transition: the case of Safety Ltd. in Latvia, in Aidis, R.; Welter, F. (Eds.), The cutting edge: innovation and entrepreneurship in new Europe, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Sauka, A. and F. Welter (2007) Productive, Unproductive and Destructive Entrepreneurship in an Advanced Transition Setting: The Example of Latvian Small Enterprises, in Michael Dowling and Jurgen Schmude (Eds.), Empirical Entrepreneurship in Europe’, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar.

Membership in professional organizations

Business Against Shadow Economy (BASE), Member of the Board

European Association for Comparative Economic Studies, Member

European Council of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Member of the Board of Directors (2010-2013), Vice president for Latvia (2007-2010, since 2014-2019)

Academy of Management, Member. Ambassador of ENT division in Latvia (2010-2015)

Latvian Council for Science, Expert in Management and Economics (since 2011)


Collaboration with international organizations and industries

OECD, European Commission reports (since 2015)

Williams, C., Sauka, A. and Plasschaert, I. (2023). Developing methodology and key performance indicators (KPIs) measuring the effectiveness of labour inspectorates. European Platform Tackling Undeclared Work, European Labour Authority.

Sauka, A. (2020). Inclusive Entrepreneurship Policies, Country Assessment Notes. Latvia. OECD: Paris.

Sauka, A. (2019). Developing skills and knowledge for the unemployed to start innovative businesses: state of play and potential developments.

Peer Review on "Entrepreneurship training for the unemployed: the Austrian Entrepreneurship Lab example". Peer Country Comments Paper – Latvia. European Commission.

Sauka, A. (2019). Waiting for the New Law on Whistleblowers to be Enforced and Open to Learn from the Best Practices. Peer Review on “Enhancing whistleblower protection through better collaboration between responsible authorities – a tool to prevent and tackle work-related crime”. Peer Country Comments Paper – Latvia. European Commission.

Sauka, A. (2018) Inclusive Entrepreneurship in Latvia. OECD Policy Assessment Note 2018, OECD: Paris.

Sauka, A. (2017) Inclusive Entrepreneurship in Latvia. OECD Policy Assessment Note 2017, OECD: Paris.

Putnins, T. and A. Sauka (2016), Shadow Economy Determinants and Impact Assessment in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, OECD Publishing, Paris.

Sauka, A (2016) Measure for Commencing Commercial Activity or Self Employment, Latvia. In Jonathan Potter and David Halabisky (Eds.) (2016) Inclusive Business Creation. Good Practice Compendium, p. 127. OECD: Paris.

Sauka, A. and D. Halabisky (2015) Entrepreneurship Support for the Unemployed in Latvia. Rapid policy assessments of inclusive entrepreneurship policies and programmes. OECD Report: Paris.


Selected industry reports  (since 2015)

Putnins, T. and A. Sauka (2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011). Shadow economy index for the Baltic countries 2009-2020. SSE Riga: Riga.

Sauka, A. (2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016). FICIL Sentiment Index. SSE Riga un Foreign Investors Council in Latvia (FICIL).

Pļuta, A., A. Zasova, I.Gobiņa, I. Stars, A. Sauka (2023) A study on alcohol consumption, its consequences and the economic benefits of the measures preventing alcohol abuse. BICEPS, Riga.

Sauka, A. (2023) Study on the development of Fintech Industry in Latvia. Fintech Latvia association, Riga.

Sauka, A. (2023). Latvia's Tobacco-Free Sector: Economic Impact, Grey Market Size and User Habits. BPA, Riga.

Sauka, A. (2022), Economics and Trade, parts 14-21. In R.Bambals (Ed): Handbook on disinformation: to recognize and resist. State Chancellery, 2022, Rīga: Latvia.

With co-authors (2019-2022) Number of reports on creative and cultural industries. DISCE: Developing Inclusive and Sustainable Creative Economies project:

With various co-authors (2019-2022), Number of reports on the shadow economy as a part of the State Research Programme RE:SHADE project.
Pētījumi par ēnu ekonomikas apjomu | Finanšu ministrija (

Pļuta, A., M. Hazans, I.E. Švilpe, A. Zasova, A. Sauka (2020). Excise tax policy in the Baltic States: alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic beverages and tobacco products. Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Riga.

Sauka, A. (2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016). Shadow economy in the construction industry in Latvia. SSE Riga, Partnership of Latvian Construction companies, Business Against Shadow Economy (BASE): Riga, Latvia.

Sauka, A. (2021) Usage of the legal and illegal content of copyrighted and related rights-protected digital content in Latvia: amount, influential factors and estimate of the damage cause to the economy. National Electronic Mass Media Council: Riga.

Mickiewicz, T., T.Skica, A.Sauka, A.Timofejevs (2021), Rola samorządowych instrumentów i samoorganizacji gospodarczej i społecznej w generowaniu przedsiębiorczości w Polsce i na Łotwie. Samorząd Terytorialny, 371 (11), 10-25.

Putnins, T. and A. Sauka (2020). Shadow economy index for Russia 2017-2018: comparison with the size of the shadow economies in Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo, Moldova, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland. SSE Riga: Riga.

Lysa, O., I.Fedets and A.Sauka (2019). Shadow economy Index for Ukraine. 2017-2018. Kyiv International Institute of Sociology.

Mustafa, I., Pula J.S., Krasniqui, B., Sauka, A., Berisha, G., Pula, L., Lajqui, S. amd Jahja, S. (2019) Analysis of the Shadow Economy in Kosova. Kosova Academy of Sciences and Arts, Kosova: Pristina.

Sauka, A. (2019). Habits of Copyright and Related Rights Uses of Latvian Smartphone Users. Ministry of Culture of Latvia: Riga.

Pētersone, I., A. Sauka and J. Stinka (2019). Taxi industry in Latvia. Current situation and solution for the future. BASE: Riga.

Sauka, A. I. Gleizdāne un I. Platonova (2018). Analysis of Quality Criteria and Standards in Latvian Meat Processing Industry. SSE Riga: Riga.

Putnins, T., A. Sauka and A. Davidescu (2018). Shadow Economy Index for Moldova and Romania, 2015-2016. SSE Riga, National Scientific Research Institute for Labour and Social Protection.

Sauka, A. (2018). Amount of illegal pay-TV and Internet content usage habits in Latvia. 

BASE, SSE Riga, For Legal Content: Riga.

Sauka, A. (2017). Overview of the Unobserved Economy, Public Corruption and Money Laundering in Latvia. Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry: Riga.

Masane- Ose, J. and A Sauka (2016). Foreign Investors’ Viewpoints on the Shadow Economy in Latvia. KPMG, SSE Riga and Foreign Investors Council in Latvia, Riga.

Sauka, A. (2016). Amount of Illegal Pay TV Broadcasting in Latvia, 2015. BASE- Business Against the Shadow Economy, For the Legal Content and SSE Riga: Riga

Sauka, A. (2016). Latvian entrepreneurs on the Latvian judicial system, SSE Riga: Rīga. Summary available at:

Rudzitis, E., S. Porina- Palsane and A. Sauka (2015) Pensometer. SSE Riga and SEB bank: Riga.



Since 2020. Member of the project team- leader of the team Latvia. MARKETS: Mapping Uncertainties, Challenges and Future Opportunities of Emerging Markets: Informal Barriers, Business Environments and Future Trends in Eastern Europe, The Caucasus and Central Asia (Horizon 2020 project: Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks)

2020.-2022. Project manager. “RE:SHADE’- Researching the Shadow Economy (State Research Project, administered by Latvian Council of Science).

2019.-2020. Project manager. “Institutions and taxes in Latvia’ (FLPP Nr Izp-2018/2- 0067).

2019.-2022. Member of the project team- leader of the team Latvia. DISCE - Developing Inclusive & Sustainable Creative Economies (Horizon 2020 project).

2018.-2022. Member of the project team- leader of the team Latvia. SHADOW: An exploration of the nature of informal economies and shadow practices in the former USSR region. (Horizon 2020 project: Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange).

2019-2021. Project expert. Supporting the smart specialization approach in the silver economy to increase regional innovation capacity and sustainable growth (OSIRIS). Interreg Baltic Sea Region project,

2014-2016. ECOSOC- LV 5.2.2. programme “Innovation and entrepreneurship development in Latvia: smart technology strategy perspective”. Riga Technical University.

Since 2014. WEF Global Competitiveness Index project manager from Latvia

Team member in the project “Best Agers Lighthouses”. Baltic Sea Region programme 2007-2013.

Project manager in the project “Best Agers”. Baltic Sea Region programme 2007-2013.

Team member in the project Central Balticum Entrepreneurship Interaction (CB ENTREINT). Central Baltic Interreg IVA Programme 2007-2013, financed by the European Regional Development Fund.

Local project coordinator/ team member in the project “CREANET: Creative Entrepreneurship Training Network”. Central Baltic INTERREG IV A Programme 2007-2013.

Team member in the project “Accommodating Creative Knowledge – Competitiveness of European Metropolitan Regions within the Enlarged Union” (ACRE). Sixth Framework Programme of the EU.    

Author of Nordea Vitametrs


Advising and Reviewing

Since 2021. Member of the postdoctoral supervisory board (State Education Development Agency, Republic of Latvia), nominated by the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Since 2020. Member of the expert panel “SME Sustainable Enterprise Panel”, SME Assembly, the European Commission.

European Commission has established a permanent panel of academic experts, under the name “SME Sustainable Enterprise Panel”, to help to progress a conversation about the strategic policy and business response needed in order to keep businesses alive and create a sustainable enterprise ecosystem. The panel consists of some of the leading EU scholars in SME and entrepreneurship research. The panel has met for the first time during annual SME conference in 2020 for a roundtable discussion entitled “The impact of COVID-19: Challenges and Opportunities for SMEs, Society and Policy in Europe”. The panel will meet also in 2021 during SME Assembly (Slovenia) and forthcoming years, annually.

Member of the editorial board: Baltic Journal of Management

Member of the editorial board: Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Emerging Economies

Member of the editorial board: Journal of Business Management

Reviewer for Journal of Management, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Journal of Business Venturing, Journal of Small Business Management, Small Business Economics, Regional Studies, Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, International Small Business Journal, International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Technological and Economic Development of Economy, Emerging Market Review, European Societies, Post Communist Economies, Journal of Baltic Studies.

Interviews on national media on the regular basis (on shadow economy issues as well as more general issues related to economics and entrepreneurship development challenges in Latvia). Consulting Latvian policymakers on the shadow economy and competitiveness issues.


Grants and Awards

Latvian Academy of Sciences Award named after K. Ulmanis: award for the significant contribution in the research of Latvian economy (2022).

Recognition from the Ministry of Education for research on the shadow economy and foreign investment in Latvia (January, 2020).

Elected corresponding member of Latvian Academy of Sciences (since November, 2020).

2017. Award by the State Revenue Service of Latvia, a cooperation partner of the year.

The TeliaSonera Institute at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga/ BICEPS ( Scholarship for research in Entrepreneurship (2005-2007). Riga, Latvia.

Scandinavian Institute for Administrative Research. Travelling scholarship, research visit to Jonkoping International Business School. (03.-05.2006). Jonkoping, Sweden.

The Swedish Institute. Scholarship for research work at Jonkoping International Business School (2004.- 2005). Jonkoping, Sweden.

School of Slavonic and East European Studies, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Latvia. Scholarship for research work at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies/ University College London. (2003-2004). London, U.K.