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Shadow Economy and Entrepreneurial Entry


  • Saul Estrin
  • Tomasz Mickiewicz


We analyze theoretically and empirically the impact of the shadow economy on entrepreneurial entry, utilising 1998-2005 individual-level Global Entrepreneurship Monitor data merged with macro level variables. A simple correlation coefficient suggests a positive linear link between the size of the shadow economy and entrepreneurial entry. However, this masks more complex relationships. With appropriate controls and instrumenting for potential endogeneity where required, the impact of the shadow economy on entry is found to be negative, based on a linear specification. Moreover, there is also evidence of nonlinearity: entrepreneurial entry is least likely when the shadow economy is of medium size. We attribute the negative effects of shadow economy on entry to perceived strong competition faced by new entrants when the shadow economy is widespread. At the individual level, an extensive shadow economy has a more negative impact on respondents who are risk averse. In addition, in the economies where property rights are strong, the negative impact of the shadow economy is weaker.
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Suggested Citation

  • Saul Estrin & Tomasz Mickiewicz, 2012. "Shadow Economy and Entrepreneurial Entry," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(4), pages 559-578, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:rdevec:v:16:y:2012:i:4:p:559-578 DOI: 10.1111/rode.2012.16.issue-4

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ruta Aidis & Saul Estrin & Tomasz Marek Mickiewicz, 2007. "Entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets: Which Institutions Matter?," UCL SSEES Economics and Business working paper series 81, UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES).
    2. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2009. "Democratic Capital: The Nexus of Political and Economic Change," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 88-126, July.
    3. Aidis, Ruta & Estrin, Saul & Mickiewicz, Tomasz, 2008. "Institutions and entrepreneurship development in Russia: A comparative perspective," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 656-672, November.
    4. Simon Johnson & John McMillan & Christopher Woodruff, 2002. "Property Rights and Finance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1335-1356, December.
    5. Aureo de Paula & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2006. "The Informal Sector," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001030, UCLA Department of Economics.
    6. Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Love, Inessa & Maksimovic, Vojislav, 2006. "Business environment and the incorporation decision," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(11), pages 2967-2993, November.
    7. Rauch, James E., 1991. "Modelling the informal sector formally," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 33-47, January.
    8. Schneider, Friedrich G. & Buehn, Andreas, 2007. "Shadow economies and corruption all over the world: revised estimates for 120 countries," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 1, pages 1-53.
    9. Buehn, Andreas & Schneider, Friedrich, 2009. "Corruption and the Shadow Economy: A Structural Equation Model Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 4182, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Klapper, Leora & Laeven, Luc & Rajan, Raghuram, 2006. "Entry regulation as a barrier to entrepreneurship," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 591-629, December.
    11. Mihir Desai & Paul Gompers & Josh Lerner, 2003. "Institutions, Capital Constraints and Entrepreneurial Firm Dynamics: Evidence from Europe," NBER Working Papers 10165, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Djula Borozan & Josip Arneric & Ilija Coric, 0. "A comparative study of net entrepreneurial productivity in developed and post-transition economies," International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-26.
    2. Sugata Marjit & Saibal Kar, 2012. "Firm Heterogeneity, Informal Wage and Good Governance," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(4), pages 527-539, November.
    3. repec:ers:ijebaa:v:iv:y:2016:i:4:p:3-16 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:spr:intemj:v:13:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11365-016-0427-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:ers:ijebaa:v:iv:y:2016:i:2:p:80-92 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Goel, Rajeev K. & Nelson, Michael A., 2016. "Shining a light on the shadows: Identifying robust determinants of the shadow economy," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 351-364.
    7. repec:eee:tefoso:v:123:y:2017:i:c:p:271-282 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Erkko Autio & Kun Fu, 2015. "Economic and political institutions and entry into formal and informal entrepreneurship," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 67-94, March.
    9. Aparicio, Sebastian & Urbano, David & Audretsch, David, 2016. "Institutional factors, opportunity entrepreneurship and economic growth: Panel data evidence," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 45-61.
    10. Rajeev Goel & James Saunoris & Xingyuan Zhang, 2015. "Innovation and underground entrepreneurship," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 40(5), pages 800-820, October.
    11. Niklas Elert & Magnus Henrekson, 2016. "Evasive entrepreneurship," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 95-113, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • P14 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Property Rights


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