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On the Political Economy of the Informal Sector and Income Redistribution

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  • Ozan Hatipoglu
  • Gulenay Ozbek

Abstract

In this paper we analyze a general equilibrium model in which agents choose to be employed in formal or in the informal sector. The formal sector is taxed to provide income subsidies and the level of redistribution is determined endogenously through majority voting. We explore how the demand for redistribution determined by majority voting interacts with the incentive to work in the untaxed informal market. We also investigate how different levels of the informal sector wage can explain simultaneous changes in the size of the informal sector and level of redistribution. The model is simulated to produce qualitative results to illustrate the differences between economies with different distributional features. The model accounts for the different sizes of informal sector and income redistribution in Mexico and United States.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bogazici University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2007/11.

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Date of creation: Nov 2007
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Handle: RePEc:bou:wpaper:2007/11

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  1. Rauch, James E., 1991. "Modelling the informal sector formally," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 33-47, January.
  2. Hildegart Ahumada & Facundo Alvaredo & Alfredo Canavese, 2007. "The Monetary Method And The Size Of The Shadow Economy: A Critical Assessment," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 53(2), pages 363-371, 06.
  3. Áureo de Paula & José A. Scheinkman, 2007. "The Informal Sector," NBER Working Papers 13486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Chong, Alberto & Gradstein, Mark, 2007. "Inequality and informality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 159-179, February.
  5. Per Krusell & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 1997. "On the size of U.S. government: political economy in the neoclassical growth model," Staff Report 234, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. 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.
  7. Alesina, Alberto F & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 565, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Juster, F. Thomas & Stafford, Frank P., 1990. "The Allocation of Time: Empirical Findings, Behavioural Models, and Problems of Measurement," Working Paper Series 258, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  9. Brambila Macias, Jose, 2008. "The Dynamics of Parallel Economies. Measuring the Informal Sector in México," MPRA Paper 8400, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Friedrich Schneider & Dominik Enste, 2000. "Shadow Economies Around the World," IMF Working Papers 00/26, International Monetary Fund.
  11. Roberts, Kevin W. S., 1977. "Voting over income tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 329-340, December.
  12. Dessy, Sylvain & Pallage, Stephane, 2003. "Taxes, inequality and the size of the informal sector," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 225-233, February.
  13. Lemieux, Thomas & Fortin, Bernard & Frechette, Pierre, 1994. "The Effect of Taxes on Labor Supply in the Underground Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 231-54, March.
  14. Ayse Imrohoroglu & Antonio Merlo & Peter Rupert, 1996. "On the political economy of income redistribution and crime," Staff Report 216, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  15. 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.
  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.
  17. Ihrig, Jane & Moe, Karine S., 2004. "Lurking in the shadows: the informal sector and government policy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 541-557, April.
  18. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  19. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
  20. Mazumdar, Dipak, 1976. "The urban informal sector," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 4(8), pages 655-679, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Eugenia Fotoniata & Thomas Moutos, 2011. "Product Quality, Informality, and Child Labour," CESifo Working Paper Series 3537, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Ceyhun Elgin & Mario-Solis Garcia, 2012. "Public Trust, Taxes and the Informal Sector," Bogazici Journal of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Bogazici University, Department of Economics, vol. 26(1), pages 27-44.

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