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Measuring the size of the shadow economy in 30 provinces of China over 1995–2016: The MIMIC approach

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  • Hailin Chen
  • Friedrich Schneider
  • Qunli Sun

Abstract

Applying the multiple indicators and multiple causes (MIMIC) approach, the present paper measured the size of the shadow economies in China's provinces over 1995–2016. The results show that the average size of the shadow economy in 30 provinces of China increased from 13.55% in 1995 to 14.39% in 2009, and then decreased to 12.30% in 2016. There are obvious variations in the size of the shadow economies in different districts of China. The average size of the shadow economy is lowest in provinces in the eastern district and highest in the western district. In addition, the causes and consequences of the shadow economies in China's provinces have also been analysed using the MIMIC approach, and the results show that tax burden, complexity of the tax system, intensity of regulation, unemployment, employment in the agricultural sector and economic openness have significant positive effects on China's shadow economy, while the ratio of direct taxes to indirect taxes, fiscal autonomy and income levels have significant negative effects on China's shadow economy. Using the growth rate of energy consumption as the benchmark indicator, the MIMIC analysis shows that the shadow economy has significant positive effects on the development of the official economy and income inequality while having a significant negative effect on the labour participation rate.

Suggested Citation

  • Hailin Chen & Friedrich Schneider & Qunli Sun, 2020. "Measuring the size of the shadow economy in 30 provinces of China over 1995–2016: The MIMIC approach," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(3), pages 427-453, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:pacecr:v:25:y:2020:i:3:p:427-453
    DOI: 10.1111/1468-0106.12313
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