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Why Do Underground Reducing Policies Often Fail Their Scope? Some Answers From The Italian Experience

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  • BRUNO CHIARINI
  • MARCO DI DOMIZIO
  • ELISABETTA MARZANO

Abstract

Several European countries, facing a sizeable underground economy, often adopt underground reducing policies mainly based on incentives in the tax-benefit system. Since empirical evidence manifests a substantial failure of such policies, we construct a simple model to indicate the crucial aspects of this failure. To this end we consider a tax-evading firm, allocating work in the official and underground sector, where it is not taxed. With a view to reducing underground employment, the government may decide to launch an amnesty for past social security non-compliance, while providing fiscal incentives for new hiring in order to encourage a process of worker regularization. Allowing for endogenous enforcement, we find that the reputation of policy-makers in combating tax evasion proves crucial in determining the success of such a policy. Copyright 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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  • Bruno Chiarini & Marco Di Domizio & Elisabetta Marzano, 2009. "Why Do Underground Reducing Policies Often Fail Their Scope? Some Answers From The Italian Experience," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(2), pages 308-318, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecopol:v:21:y:2009:i:2:p:308-318
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    1. Das-Gupta, Arindam & Mookherjee, Dilip, 1996. "Tax Amnesties as Asset-Laundering Devices," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 408-431, October.
    2. Herman B. Leonard & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 1987. "Amnesty, Enforcement, and Tax Policy," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 1, pages 55-86 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    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. Eduardo Engel & James R. Hines Jr., 1998. "Understanding Tax Evasion Dynamics," Documentos de Trabajo 47, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
    5. Abowd, John M. & Kramarz, Francis, 2003. "The costs of hiring and separations," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(5), pages 499-530, October.
    6. Franzoni, Luigi Alberto, 1996. "Punishment and Grace: On the Economics of Tax Amnesties," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 51(3), pages 353-368.
    7. Franzoni, Luigi Alberto, 2000. "Amnesties, Settlements and Optimal Tax Enforcement," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 67(266), pages 153-176, May.
    8. 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.
    9. Francesco Busato & Bruno Chiarini, 2004. "Market and underground activities in a two-sector dynamic equilibrium model," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 23(4), pages 831-861, May.
    10. Snow, Arthur & Warren, Ronald Jr., 2005. "Tax evasion under random audits with uncertain detection," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 97-100, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bruno Chiarini & Simona Monteleone, 2016. "Discretionary policy, strategic complementarity and tax evasion: a strategic analysis of the Italian audit mechanism," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 33(1), pages 99-117, April.
    2. Raffaella Basile & Bruno Chiarini & Elisabetta Marzano, 2011. "Can we Rely upon Fiscal Policy Estimates in Countries with Unreported Production of 15 Per Cent (or more) of GDP?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3521, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Giuseppe Ciccarone & Francesco Giuli, 2012. "Underground labor, search frictions and macroeconomic fluctuations," Departmental Working Papers of Economics - University 'Roma Tre' 0159, Department of Economics - University Roma Tre.
    4. Bruno Chiarini & Elisabetta Marzano & Friedrich Schneider, 2013. "Tax rates and tax evasion: an empirical analysis of the long-run aspects in Italy," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 273-293, April.

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