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Explaining and tackling the shadow economy in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania: a tax morale approach

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  • Colin C. Williams

    (Management School, University of Sheffield)

  • Ioana A. Horodnic

    (Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi)

Abstract

To explain the shadow economy in the Baltic states of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, this paper evaluates the relationship between the shadow economy and tax morale. Viewing tax morale as a measure of the symmetry between the codified laws and regulations of formal institutions (state morality) and the unwritten socially shared rules of informal institutions (civic morality), the proposition is that the lower the tax morale (i.e. the greater the asymmetry between state morality and civic morality), the greater is the likelihood to participate in the shadow economy. To evaluate this, a 2013 survey is reported involving 3036 face-to-face interviews in these 3 Baltic nations. Using logistic regression analysis, the finding is that the likelihood of participating in the shadow economy is greater, the lower is the tax morality of individuals, population groups and countries. In addition, the likelihood to participate is shadow economy is found to significantly vary by, for example, gender, employment status and country, people living in Latvia and Lithuania displaying significantly lower likelihood to engage in the shadow economy. The paper then explores the implications for theorizing and tackling the shadow economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Colin C. Williams & Ioana A. Horodnic, 2015. "Explaining and tackling the shadow economy in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania: a tax morale approach," Baltic Journal of Economics, Baltic International Centre for Economic Policy Studies, vol. 15(2), pages 81-98.
  • Handle: RePEc:bic:journl:v:15:y:2015:i:2:p:81-98
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    Cited by:

    1. Ayşegül KAYAOĞLU & Colin C. WILLIAM, 2020. "Explaining Tax Non-Compliance from a Neo-Institutionalist Perspective: Some Lessons from a Public Opinion Survey in Turkey," Sosyoekonomi Journal, Sosyoekonomi Society, issue 28(43).
    2. Jekaterina Navickė & Romas Lazutka, 2018. "Distributional Implications of the Economic Development in the Baltics: Reconciling Micro and Macro Perspectives," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 138(1), pages 187-206, July.
    3. Colin C WILLIAMS & Slavko BEZEREDI, 2018. "Explaining informal entrepreneurship in South-East Europe: a tax morale approach," Eastern Journal of European Studies, Centre for European Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, vol. 9, pages 47-68, December.
    4. Colin C. Williams & Abbi Kedir, 2018. "Explaining Cross-National Variations In The Prevalence Of Informal Sector Entrepreneurship: Lessons From A Survey Of 142 Countries," Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship (JDE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 23(01), pages 1-22, March.
    5. Friedrich Schneider & Mangirdas Morkunas & Erika Quendler, 2021. "Measuring the Immeasurable: The Evolution of the Size of Informal Economy in the Agricultural Sector in the EU-15 up to 2019," CESifo Working Paper Series 8937, CESifo.
    6. Dzemydaitė Giedrė & Savilionytė Ieva, 2017. "The Spread of the Shadow Economy as a Moral Dilemma?," Ekonomika (Economics), Sciendo, vol. 96(3), pages 44-55, January.
    7. Colin Williams, 2020. "An Institutional Theory of Tax Non- Compliance in Bulgaria: a Tax Morale Approach," Economic Alternatives, University of National and World Economy, Sofia, Bulgaria, issue 1, pages 33-49, March.
    8. Clément Longondjo Etambakonga & Julia Roloff, 2020. "Protecting Environment or People? Pitfalls and Merits of Informal Labour in the Congolese Recycling Industry," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 161(4), pages 815-834, February.
    9. Colin C. Williams & Slavko Bezeredi, 2021. "Explaining informal entrepreneurship in Croatia: a social actor approach," International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 42(3), pages 348-368.
    10. Colin C. Williams & Abbi M. Kedir, 2019. "Explaining cross-country variations in the prevalence of informal sector competitors: lessons from the World Bank Enterprise Survey," International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 677-696, September.
    11. Victor Adame & David Tuesta, 2017. "The labyrinth of the informal economy: measurement strategies and impacts," Working Papers 17/18, BBVA Bank, Economic Research Department.
    12. Fedotenkov, Igor & Schneider, Friedrich, 2017. "Military expenditures and shadow economy in the Baltic States: Is there a link?," MPRA Paper 76194, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    informal economy; undeclared work; tax morale; social contract; institutional analysis; Baltics;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E26 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Informal Economy; Underground Economy
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • J46 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Informal Labor Market
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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