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Taxation, public services, and the informal sector in a model of endogenous growth

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  • Braun, Juan
  • Loayza, Norman V.

Abstract

Large informal sectors are an important characteristic of developing countries. The authors build a dynamic model in which the informal sector exists when overregulation (high tax rates and high cost for entering the formal sector) is coupled with an inefficient and corrupt system of compliance control. They consider a production technology in which public services are essential and subject to congestion. The public services are financed by taxes collected from the formal sector. Informal producers evade taxes and, because of their illegal status, can use only some public services, cannot use capital or insurance markets, and are subject to stochastic penalties. The authors find that the relative size of the informal sector is negatively related to the severity of the penalties and positively related to tax rates and the extent of informal use of public services. They also find that economies with larger informal sectors have lower capital return and growth rates because the contribution of public services to productivity decreases with informality. They argue that self-interested bureaucracies create an economic environment that makes informality attractive or simply unavoidable because they profit from the presence of the informal sector.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1334.

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Date of creation: 31 Aug 1994
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1334

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Related research

Keywords: Economic Theory&Research; Banks&Banking Reform; Poverty Assessment; Environmental Economics&Policies; National Governance;

References

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  1. Rebelo, Sergio, 1991. "Long-Run Policy Analysis and Long-Run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 500-521, June.
  2. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  3. Allingham, Michael G. & Sandmo, Agnar, 1972. "Income tax evasion: a theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 323-338, November.
  4. Barro, Robert J & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1992. "Public Finance in Models of Economic Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(4), pages 645-61, October.
  5. Rauch, James E., 1991. "Modelling the informal sector formally," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 33-47, January.
  6. Gupta, Manash Ranjan, 1993. "Rural-urban migation, informal sector and development policies A theoretical analysis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 137-151, June.
  7. Alm, James & McClelland, Gary H. & Schulze, William D., 1992. "Why do people pay taxes?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 21-38, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Kendall K. Schaefer, 2003. "Capacity Utilization, Income Distribution, and the Urban Informal Sector: An Open-Economy Model," Working Papers wp35, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  2. Marco Di Domizio, 2007. "Effect of social contribution evasion on working time allocation: theoretical contribution in a two sector model," Discussion Papers 6_2007, D.E.S. (Department of Economic Studies), University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.

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