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What causes firms to hide output? The determinants of informality

  • Dabla-Norris, Era
  • Gradstein, Mark
  • Inchauste, Gabriela

In many developing countries, a significant part of economic activity takes place in the informal sector. Earlier work has examined the determinants of the size of the informal sector, focusing separately on factors such as tax and regulation burden, financial market development, and the quality of the legal system. We revisit this issue by using an integrated dataset which contains rich information on all these aspects. Testing the channels affecting the degree of informality, we find evidence that all previously identified factors indeed play a role in driving informality. In particular, and consistent with the suggested theoretical model, we find support for the significance of the quality of the legal system.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 85 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1-2 (February)
Pages: 1-27

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:85:y:2008:i:1-2:p:1-27
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/devec

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  3. Loayza, Norman A., 1997. "The economics of the informal sector : a simple model and some empirical evidence from Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1727, The World Bank.
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  10. Johnson, Simon & Kaufmann, Daniel & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1998. "Regulatory Discretion and the Unofficial Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 387-92, May.
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  15. Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Do Institutions Cause Growth?," NBER Working Papers 10568, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Sarte, Pierre-Daniel G., 2000. "Informality and rent-seeking bureaucracies in a model of long-run growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 173-197, August.
  17. 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.
  18. Kenneth Arrow, 1962. "Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Invention," NBER Chapters, in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pages 609-626 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Era Dabla-Norris & Andrew Feltenstein, 2005. "The underground economy and its macroeconomic consequences," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(2), pages 153-174.
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  22. Simon Johnson & Daniel Kaufman & Andrei Shleifer, 1997. "The Unofficial Economy in Transition," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(2), pages 159-240.
  23. Thorsten Beck & Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Ross Levine, 2000. "A New Database on the Structure and Development of the Financial Sector," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(3), pages 597-605, September.
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