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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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References

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  1. Almeida, Rita K. & Carneiro, Pedro, 2005. "Enforcement of Regulation, Informal Labor and Firm Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 1759, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Aureo de Paula & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2006. "The Informal Sector," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001030, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Gabriela Inchauste & Mark Gradstein & Era Dabla-Norris, 2005. "What Causes Firms to Hide Output? the Determinants of Informality," IMF Working Papers 05/160, International Monetary Fund.
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  8. Straub, Stéphane, 2005. "Informal sector: The credit market channel," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 299-321, December.
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  10. 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.
  11. 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.
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  13. William Maloney & Jairo Mendez, 2004. "Measuring the Impact of Minimum Wages. Evidence from Latin America," NBER Chapters, in: Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean, pages 109-130 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Friedrich Schneider & Dominik Enste, 2000. "Shadow Economies Around the World," IMF Working Papers 00/26, International Monetary Fund.
  15. 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).
  16. 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.
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  19. Almeida, Rita & Carneiro, Pedro, 2005. "Enforcement of labor regulation, informal labor, and firm performance," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3756, The World Bank.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Alonso-Ortiz, Jorge & Leal Ordonez, Julio, 2013. "The Elasticity of Informality to Taxes and Transfers," MPRA Paper 49568, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Luca Barbone & Richard M. Bird & Jaime Vazquez-Caro, 2012. "The Costs of VAT: A Review of the Literature," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1222, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Frédéric DOCQUIER & Tobias MÜLLER & Joaquín NAVAL, 2013. "Informality and long-run growth," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2013034, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  9. Eduardo Lora & Deisy 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," Research Department Publications 4791, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Galbiati, Roberto & Zanella, Giulio, 2012. "The tax evasion social multiplier: Evidence from Italy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(5), pages 485-494.
  13. 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.
  14. Áureo De Paula & José A. Scheinkman, 2011. "The Informal Sector: An Equilibrium Model And Some Empirical Evidence From Brazil," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 57, pages S8-S26, 05.
  15. 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).
  16. 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.

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