Sauka Arnis

Sauka Arnis

Professor. Head of the Centre for Sustainable Business. EMBA Course: Research Methods 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 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 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, European Commission and Eurofound 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, since 2015). He has participated in and/ or acted as a project manager in several big scale international projects.

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 is a board member of the Foreign Investment Council in Latvia (FICIL) (since 2019), NGO BASE (Business Against the Shadow Economy) (since 2015). From 2011-2014 he was Advisor to the Minister of Health on Financial and Economic Issues. Arnis is also an Expert in Management Science and an Expert in Economics at the Latvian Council for Science (since 2011) as well as a member of the promotion committee of the doctoral programme implemented by the BA School of Business and Finance and RISEBA University. 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.



Dr. rer. pol. (business administration, magna cum laude)

University of Siegen, Germany


Research interests

Shadow Economy, Tax morale, Productive and unproductive entrepreneurship; Social Contribution and Competitiveness of SMEs; Small and medium size enterprise (SME) performance, growth and strategies; SMEs development in transition countries; Entrepreneurship policy making.


Refereed journal articles

Polese, A., G.M. Moise, T. Tokyzhanova, T. Aguzzi, T. Kerikmae, A. Sagynbaeva, A. Sauka and O. Seliverstova (2022). Informality versus shadow economy: reflecting on the first results of a manager’s survey in Kyrgyzstan. Central Asian Survey.

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.

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

Foreign Investment Council of Latvia (FICIL), Member of the Board

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)

International Council of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Member

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

Latvian Council for Science, Expert in Management and Economics (2011-2014, 2014-2017)

Member of the promotion committee of the doctoral program implemented by BA School of Business and Finance and Riga International School of Economics and Business Administration (RISEBA)


Collaboration with international organizations and industries

OECD, European Commission reports (since 2015)

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 (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.

Putnins, T. and A. Sauka (annually, since 2010) Shadow Economy Index in the Baltic countries 2009-2019. SSE Riga: Riga.

Sauka, A. (annually, since 2015) FICIL Sentiment Index. 2015-2020. SSE Riga and Foreign Investment Council of Latvia (FICIL): Riga.

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

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.

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.

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. and 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: challenges and solutions. BASE- Business Against the Shadow Economy and SSE Riga: Riga.

Sauka, A., I. Gleizdāne and I. Platonova (2018) Analysis of the quality criteria in production industry in Latvia. 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: Riga.

Sauka, A. (2016, 2017, 2018) Study on Share of illegal pay TV services and usage of illegal content on the Internet in Latvia. BASE- Business Against the Shadow Economy, For the Legal Content and SSE Riga: 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) Study on the perception of Latvian entrepreneurs about the quality of the court system in Latvia, SSE Riga: Riga. Summary available at:

Sauka, A., S. Porina- Palsane and E. Rudzitis (2015) Pensometr: study on the expectations of inhabitants in the Baltic countries with regards to their income when retired, habits of saving money, link to envelope wages. 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.