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Government policy in the formal and informal sectors

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  • Prado, Mauricio

Abstract

The paper quantitatively investigates, in general equilibrium, the interaction between the firms' choice to operate in the formal or the informal sector and government policy on taxation and enforcement, given a level of regulation. A static version of Ghironi and Melitz's (2005) industry model is used to show that firms with lower productivity endogenously choose to operate in the informal sector. I use cross-country data on taxes, measures of informality, and measures of regulation (entry and compliance costs, red tape, etc.) to back out how high the enforcement levels must be country by country to make the theory match the data. The welfare gains from policy reforms are on average 1.2% (measured in terms of consumption) for OECD countries. I also find that the welfare gains from reducing regulation are on average 2.1%. Finally, performing a similar decomposition to that of Hall and Jones (1999), I find that distortions associated with informality account for a factor of 1.5 of the output per capita difference between the richest and the poorest countries.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 55 (2011)
Issue (Month): 8 ()
Pages: 1120-1136

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:55:y:2011:i:8:p:1120-1136

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer

Related research

Keywords: Informality; Government policy; Taxation; Enforcement; Regulation;

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References

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  1. Fabio Ghironi & Marc J. Melitz, 2005. "International Trade and Macroeconomic Dynamics with Heterogeneous Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 865-915, August.
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  9. 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.
  10. Aureo de Paula & Jose A Sheinkman, 2007. "The Informal Sector," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001663, UCLA Department of Economics.
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  16. Antunes, Antonio R. & Cavalcanti, Tiago V. de V., 2007. "Start up costs, limited enforcement, and the hidden economy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 203-224, January.
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  19. Loayza, Norman V., 1996. "The economics of the informal sector: a simple model and some empirical evidence from Latin America," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 129-162, December.
  20. Pierre-Daniel G. Sarte, 1999. "Informality and rent-seeking bureaucracies in a model of long-run growth," Working Paper 99-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
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  22. Banerjee, A.V., 1997. "A Theory of Misgovernance," Working papers 97-4, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  23. 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.
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  26. Rauch, James E., 1991. "Modelling the informal sector formally," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 33-47, January.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Nejat Anbarci & Pedro Gomis-Porqueras & Marcus Pivato, 2013. "Formal and Informal Markets: A Strategic and Dynamic Perspective," Economics Series 2013_6, Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.
  2. Amedeo Argentiero & Carlo Andrea BOLLINO, 2013. "The Mmeasurement of Underground Economy: A Dynamic-Simulation Based Approach," Quaderni del Dipartimento di Economia, Finanza e Statistica 123/2013, Università di Perugia, Dipartimento Economia, Finanza e Statistica.
  3. Andreas Buehn & Friedrich Schneider, 2012. "Shadow economies around the world: novel insights, accepted knowledge, and new estimates," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 139-171, February.
  4. Zoe Kuehn, 2007. "Tax rates, governance, and the informal economy in high-income countries," Economics Working Papers we078551, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  5. Julio Cesar Leal Ordonez, 2014. "Tax collection, the informal sector, and productivity," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(2), pages 262-286, April.
  6. Mitra, Shalini, 2013. "Informality, financial development and macroeconomic volatility," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 120(3), pages 454-457.

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