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Australia's Cash Economy: Are the Estimates Credible?

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  • TREVOR BREUSCH

Abstract

The method of 'excess sensitivity' of Bajada (1999, 2000, 2001) indicates a large underground economy in Australia, with estimates of unrecorded income approximately 15 per cent of official gross domestic product. These estimates concern policy-makers, especially those agencies responsible for national accounts, tax collection, economic stabilisation and law enforcement. We show that the method exhibits a severe form of non-robustness, in which the results change markedly with a simple change in the units of measurement of the variables. There is a separate problem in which a key parameter is set to an unrealistic value that makes the estimates many times too high. Copyright 2005 The Economic Society Of Australia.

Suggested Citation

  • Trevor Breusch, 2005. "Australia's Cash Economy: Are the Estimates Credible?," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 81(255), pages 394-403, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecorec:v:81:y:2005:i:255:p:394-403
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Christopher Bajada, 2003. "Business Cycle Properties of the Legitimate and Underground Economy in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 79(247), pages 397-411, December.
    2. Klovland, Jan Tore, 1984. " Tax Evasion and the Demand for Currency in Norway and Sweden. Is There a Hidden Relationship?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 86(4), pages 423-439.
    3. Rolf Mirus & Roger S. Smith & Vladimir Karoleff, 1994. "Canada's Underground Economy Revisited: Update and Critique," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 20(3), pages 235-252, September.
    4. Bajada, Christopher, 1999. "Estimates of the Underground Economy in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 75(231), pages 369-384, December.
    5. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Feige, Edgar L. & Cebula, Richard, 2011. "America’s unreported economy: measuring the size, growth and determinants of income tax evasion in the U.S," MPRA Paper 34781, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Michael Pickhardt & Jordi Sardà, 2015. "Size and causes of the underground economy in Spain: a correction of the record and new evidence from the MCDR approach," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 403-429, April.
    3. Michael Pickhardt & Aloys Prinz, 2012. "The Nature of Tax Evasion and the Shadow Economy," Chapters,in: Tax Evasion and the Shadow Economy, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Gemmell, Norman & Hasseldine, John, 2012. "The Tax Gap: A Methodological Review," Working Paper Series 2435, Victoria University of Wellington, Chair in Public Finance.
    5. Dan Andrews & Aida Caldera Sánchez & Åsa Johansson, 2011. "Towards a Better Understanding of the Informal Economy," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 873, OECD Publishing.
    6. Michael Pickhardt & Jordi Sarda, 2011. "The size of the underground economy in Germany: a correction of the record and new evidence from the modified-cash-deposit-ratio approach," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 143-163, August.
    7. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:3:y:2008:i:58:p:1-10 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Ahumada, Hildegart & Alvaredo, Facundo & Canavese, Alfredo, 2008. "The monetary method to measure the shadow economy: The forgotten problem of the initial conditions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(2), pages 97-99, November.
    9. Luisanna Onnis & Patrizio Tirelli, 2011. "Institutions, policies and economic development. What are the causes of the shadow economy?," Working Papers 206, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2011.
    10. Michael Pickhardt & Jordi Sardà, "undated". "Cash, Hoarding and the Underground Economy," Working Papers 201282, Institute of Spatial and Housing Economics, Munster Universitary.
    11. Ahumada, Hildegart & Alvaredo, Facundo & Canavese, Alfredo J., 2006. "The Demand for Currency Approach and the Size of the Shadow Economy: A Critical Assessment," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt6zn9p98b, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.

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