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Value-Added Taxes, Chain Effects, and Informality

  • �ureo de Paula
  • Jose A. Scheinkman

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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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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  1. Aureo de Paula & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2006. "The Informal Sector," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001030, UCLA Department of Economics.
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  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).
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