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The Elasticity of Informality to Taxes and Transfers

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  • Alonso-Ortiz, Jorge
  • Leal Ordonez, Julio

Abstract

In this work we study the impact on the size of the informal sector of a tax levied on formal workers, and transfers that may be distributed to both formal and informal workers alike. We build a search model that features an informal sector and we calibrate it to data from Mex- ico. We investigate whether changes in size and distribution of transfers between formal and informal workers have a significant impact on the size of the informal sector. We find that changes in the distribution, for a given size, create a range of variation of 19.35pp. Analogously, changes in size create a range of variation of 5.7pp, resulting in a total range of variation of 51.2pp. This implies that it is possible to substantially increase formalization by rising extra tax resources as long as they accrue to formal workers. We illustrate the validity of our approach simulating the introduction of Seguro Popular.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 49568.

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Date of creation: 22 Aug 2013
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:49568

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Keywords: Informal Sector; Search; Tax and Transfer Programs; Seguro Popular;

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  1. D'Erasmo, Pablo N. & Moscoso Boedo, Hernan J., 2012. "Financial structure, informality and development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 286-302.
  2. �ureo de Paula & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2010. "Value-Added Taxes, Chain Effects, and Informality," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 195-221, October.
  3. Costas Meghir & Renata Narita & Jean-Marc Robin, 2012. "Wages and informality in developing countries," IFS Working Papers W12/16, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  4. Zoë Kuehn, 2014. "Tax Rates, Governance, And The Informal Economy In High-Income Countries," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(1), pages 405-430, 01.
  5. Mariano Bosch & Julen Esteban-Pretel, 2009. "Cyclical Informality and Unemployment," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-613, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  6. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. 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.
  8. Mariano Bosch & Julen Esteban-Pretel, 2013. "The Labor Market Effects of Introducing Unemployment Benefits in an Economy with High Informality," GRIPS Discussion Papers 12-20, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
  9. Rodrigo Barros, 2008. "Wealthier But Not Much Healthier: Effects of a Health Insurance Program for the Poor in Mexico," Discussion Papers 09-002, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  10. Guillermo E. Perry & William F. Maloney & Omar S. Arias & Pablo Fajnzylber & Andrew D. Mason & Jaime Saavedra-Chanduvi, 2007. "Informality : Exit and Exclusion," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6730, October.
  11. Dessy, Sylvain & Pallage, Stéphane, 2001. "Taxes, Inequality and the Size of the Informal Sector," Cahiers de recherche 0112, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
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