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The Shadow Economy in Germany - A Blessing or a Curse for the Official Economy?


  • Schneider, Friedrich

    () (Johannes Kepler University Linz (Austria))


This article provides an estimation of the size and development of the shadow economy of Germany, using various estimation procedures. The shadow economy is defined as market-bound production of goods and services which escape detection in the official estimates of GDP. An increased burden of taxation and social security payments, combined with intensive labour market regulation, insufficient quality of state institutions and low tax morale are the driving forces for the shadow economy. Moreover, the results of recent surveys for Germany demonstrate that the readiness to undertake illicit employment as well as its acceptance is high in Germany and other countries. Finally, conclusions are made about the effect of the shadow economy on the official one and incentive-oriented policy means are presented, so that the ‘black’ value added can be transformed into the official value added.

Suggested Citation

  • Schneider, Friedrich, 2008. "The Shadow Economy in Germany - A Blessing or a Curse for the Official Economy?," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 89-111, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecanpo:v:38:y:2008:i:1:p:89-111

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    Cited by:

    1. Helmut Herwartz & Friedrich Schneider & Egle Tafenau, 2011. "Regional Patterns of the Shadow Economy: Modelling Issues and Evidence from the European Union," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Shadow Economy, chapter 6 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Berthold Norbert & Coban Mustafa, 2013. "Mini- und Midijobs in Deutschland: Lohnsubventionierung ohne Beschäftigungseffekte? / Mini- and Midi-Jobs in Germany: Do Wage Subsidies have an Effect on Employment?," ORDO. Jahrbuch für die Ordnung von Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, De Gruyter, vol. 64(1), pages 289-324, January.

    More about this item


    shadow economy; inofficial economy; black market;

    JEL classification:

    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O5 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance


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