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Unemployment and the Shadow Economy in the oecd

  • Christopher Bajada
  • Friedrich Schneider

Although there has been considerable discussion on the size of the shadow economy, comparatively little attention has been given to relationship between unemployment and participation in this sector. The objective of this paper is to examine participation in the shadow economy by those who claim to be unemployed and in receipt of social security benefits but working surreptitiously in the shadow economy. In doing so, we provide a first attempt at gauging the contributions by the unemployed to shadow economy activity. It is of considerable policy interest to know how the extent and duration of shadow economy activity are influenced by changes in the unemployment rate. A significant positive relationship between shadow economy activity and unemployment can be said to generate employment cycles in the shadow economy, which if supported by welfare payments, distorts the equity in the social security system. We find that changes in unemployment contribute to the employment cycles in the shadow economy, which on the whole appears to increase duration spells in unemployment.

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Article provided by Presses de Sciences-Po in its journal Revue économique.

Volume (Year): 60 (2009)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
Pages: 1033-1067

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Handle: RePEc:cai:recosp:reco_605_1033
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  1. Friedrich Schneider & Dominik Enste, 1999. "Shadow Economies Around the World - Size, Causes, and Consequences," CESifo Working Paper Series 196, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. repec:ltr:wpaper:1997.22 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Hodrick, Robert J & Prescott, Edward C, 1997. "Postwar U.S. Business Cycles: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(1), pages 1-16, February.
  4. Tanzi, Vito, 1999. "Uses and Abuses of Estimates of the Underground Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages F338-47, June.
  5. Christopher Bajada, 2005. "Unemployment and the underground economy in Australia," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(2), pages 177-189.
  6. Marianne Baxter & Robert G. King, 1999. "Measuring Business Cycles: Approximate Band-Pass Filters For Economic Time Series," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 575-593, November.
  7. Lee, Jim, 2000. "The Robustness of Okun's Law: Evidence from OECD Countries," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 331-356, April.
  8. Cover, James Peery, 1992. "Asymmetric Effects of Positive and Negative Money-Supply Shocks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1261-82, November.
  9. Katz, Lawrence F. & Meyer, Bruce D., 1990. "The impact of the potential duration of unemployment benefits on the duration of unemployment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 45-72, February.
  10. Francesco Busato & Bruno Chiarini, 2004. "Market and underground activities in a two-sector dynamic equilibrium model," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 23(4), pages 831-861, May.
  11. Domian, Dale L. & Louton, David A., 1995. "Business cycle asymmetry and the stock market," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 451-466.
  12. Frey, Bruno S & Pommerehne, Werner W, 1984. "The Hidden Economy: State and Prospects for Measurement," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 30(1), pages 1-23, March.
  13. Schneider, Friedrich, 2005. "Shadow economies around the world: what do we really know?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 598-642, September.
  14. 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.
  15. David Card & Phillip B. Levine, 1998. "Extended Benefits and the Duration of UI Spells: Evidence from the New Jersey Extended Benefit Program," NBER Working Papers 6714, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Param Silvapulle & Mervyn J Silvapulle, 1997. "Business Cycle Asymmetry and the Stock Market," Working Papers 1997.22, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
  17. 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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