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Value-Added Taxes, Chain Effects, and Informality

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  • �ureo de Paula
  • Jose A. Scheinkman

Abstract

We present an equilibrium model of tax avoidance and test its implications using a survey of firms in Brazil. In the model, the credit method used to collect value-added tax (VAT) creates informality chains-clients or suppliers of informal firms are more likely to be informal. An increase in enforcement in a production stage increases formality downstream and upstream. Various empirical measures of formality of suppliers and buyers, and of enforcement downstream and upstream, are positively correlated with formality. When the VAT is applied in a single stage of production at a rate estimated by the authorities, these chain effects disappear. (JEL H25, H26, L14, L21, O14, O17)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics.

Volume (Year): 2 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 195-221

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:2:y:2010:i:4:p:195-221

Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.2.4.195
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  1. Áureo de Paula & José A. Scheinkman, 2007. "The Informal Sector," NBER Working Papers 13486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. James J. Heckman, 1977. "Dummy Endogenous Variables in a Simultaneous Equation System," NBER Working Papers 0177, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Straub, Stéphane, 2005. "Informal sector: The credit market channel," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 299-321, December.
  4. Fajnzylber, Pablo & Maloney, William F. & Montes-Rojas, Gabriel V., 2009. "Does Formality Improve Micro-Firm Performance? Quasi-Experimental Evidence from the Brazilian SIMPLES Program," IZA Discussion Papers 4531, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. William F. Maloney & Jairo Nunez Mendez, 2003. "Measuring the Impact of Minimum Wages: Evidence from Latin America," NBER Working Papers 9800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Friedrich Schneider & Dominik Enste, 2000. "Shadow Economies Around the World," IMF Working Papers 00/26, International Monetary Fund.
  8. DiPasquale, Denise & Glaeser, Edward L., 1999. "Incentives and Social Capital: Are Homeowners Better Citizens?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 354-384, March.
  9. Friedman, Eric & Johnson, Simon & Kaufmann, Daniel & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 2000. "Dodging the grabbing hand: the determinants of unofficial activity in 69 countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 459-493, June.
  10. Simon Johnson & Daniel Kaufman & Andrei Shleifer, 1997. "The Unofficial Economy in Transition," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(2), pages 159-240.
  11. Rauch, James E., 1991. "Modelling the informal sector formally," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 33-47, January.
  12. James J. Heckman & Carmen Pagés, 2004. "Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number heck04-1, October.
  13. Rita Almeida & Pedro Carneiro, 2006. "Enforcement of regulation, informal labor and firm performance," CeMMAP working papers CWP02/06, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  14. ten Raa,Thijs, 2006. "The Economics of Input-Output Analysis," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521602679, April.
  15. Emran, M. Shahe & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 2005. "On selective indirect tax reform in developing countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 599-623, April.
  16. Almeida, Rita & Carneiro, Pedro, 2005. "Enforcement of labor regulation, informal labor, and firm performance," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3756, The World Bank.
  17. Dominik H. Enste & Friedrich Schneider, 2000. "Shadow Economies: Size, Causes, and Consequences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 77-114, March.
  18. Dabla-Norris, Era & Gradstein, Mark & Inchauste, Gabriela, 2008. "What causes firms to hide output? The determinants of informality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1-2), pages 1-27, February.
  19. Fortin, Bernard & Marceau, Nicolas & Savard, Luc, 1997. "Taxation, wage controls and the informal sector," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 293-312, November.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Richard M. Bird, 2012. "Subnational Taxation in Large Emerging Countries: BRIC Plus One," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1201, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  2. Monteiro, Joana C.M. & Assunção, Juliano J., 2012. "Coming out of the shadows? Estimating the impact of bureaucracy simplification and tax cut on formality in Brazilian microenterprises," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 105-115.
  3. Jorge Alonso-Ortiz & Julio Leal, 2013. "The elasticity of Informality to Taxes and tranfers," Working Papers 1308, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  4. Alonso Ortiz, Jorge & Leal Ordóñez, Julio C., 2011. "Taxes, Transfers and the Distribution of Employment in Mexico," MPRA Paper 32014, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Docquier, Frédéric & Müller, Tobias & Naval, Joaquín, 2014. "Informality and Long-Run Growth," IZA Discussion Papers 7883, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Kopczuk, Wojciech & Marion, Justin & Muehlegger, Erich & Slemrod, Joel, 2013. "Do the Laws of Tax Incidence Hold? Point of Collection and the Pass-Through of State Diesel Taxes," Working Paper Series rwp13-027, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  7. Eduardo Zilberman, 2011. "Audits or Distortions: The Optimal Scheme to Enforce Self-Employment Income Taxes," Textos para discussão 590, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
  8. Galbiati, Roberto & Zanella, Giulio, 2012. "The tax evasion social multiplier: Evidence from Italy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(5), pages 485-494.
  9. Luca Barbone & Richard Bird & Jaime Vázquez Caro, 2012. "The Costs of VAT: A Review of the Literature," CASE Network Reports 0106, CASE-Center for Social and Economic Research.
  10. Eduardo Lora & Johanna Fajardo, 2012. "Employment and Taxes in Latin America: An Empirical Study of the Effects of Payroll, Corporate Income and Value-Added Taxes on Labor Outcomes," IDB Publications 76958, Inter-American Development Bank.
  11. Basu, Arnab K. & Chau, Nancy & Siddique, Zahra, 2011. "Tax Evasion, Minimum Wage Non-Compliance and Informality," IZA Discussion Papers 6228, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Aureo de Paula & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2009. "The Informal Sector: An Equilibrium Model and Some Empirical Evidence from Brazil," PIER Working Paper Archive 09-044, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  13. Jaime Vázquez-Caro & Richard M. Bird, 2011. "Benchmarking Tax Administrations in Developing Countries: A Systemic Approach," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1104, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  14. Almunia, Miguel & Lopez-Rodriguez, David, 2012. "The efficiency cost of tax enforcement: evidence from a panel of spanish firms," MPRA Paper 44153, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. Luca Barbone & Misha V. Belkindas & Leon Bettendorf & Richard Bird & Mikhail Bonch-Osmolovskiy & Michael Smart, 2013. "Study to quantify and analyse the VAT Gap in the EU-27 Member States," CASE Network Reports 0116, CASE-Center for Social and Economic Research.
  16. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Richard M. Bird, 2010. "Value Added Tax: Onward and Upward?," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1026, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.

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