IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

The not so dark side of trust: Does trust increase the size of the shadow economy?

  • D’Hernoncourt, Johanna
  • Méon, Pierre-Guillaume

This paper reports a negative relationship between the size of the shadow economy and generalized trust, in a sample of countries, both developed and developing. That relationship is robust to controlling for a large set of economic, policy, and institutional variables, to changing the estimate of the shadow economy and the estimation period, and to controlling for endogeneity. It is independent from trust in institutions and from income inequality, and is mainly present in the sample of developing countries. Those findings suggest that the tax compliance effect of trust dominates its role as a substitute for the formal legal system.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 81 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 97-121

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:81:y:2012:i:1:p:97-121
DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2011.09.010
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. 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.
  2. Dabla-Norris, Era & Gradstein, Mark & Inchauste, Gabriela, 2008. "What causes firms to hide output? The determinants of informality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1-2), pages 1-27, February.
  3. Benno Torgler, 2003. "Tax Morale, Rule-Governed Behaviour and Trust," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 119-140, June.
  4. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "Law and Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1113-1155, December.
  5. Benno Torgler & Friedrich Schneider, 2007. "Shadow Economy, Tax Morale, Governance and Institutional Quality: A Panel Analysis," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 210, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.
  6. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2000. "The Role of Social Capital in Financial Development," CRSP working papers 511, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  7. Axel Dreher & Christos Kotsogiannis & Steve McCorriston, 2005. "How do Institutions Affect Corruption and the Shadow Economy?," Public Economics 0502012, EconWPA, revised 24 Feb 2005.
  8. Schneider, Friedrich G., 2007. "Shadow Economies and Corruption All Over the World: New Estimates for 145 Countries," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 1, pages 1-66.
  9. Paola Sapienza & Anna Toldra‐Simats & Luigi Zingales, 2013. "Understanding Trust," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123(12), pages 1313-1332, December.
  10. Joel Slemrod, 2007. "Cheating Ourselves: The Economics of Tax Evasion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 25-48, Winter.
  11. Guillermo E. Perry & William F. Maloney & Omar S. Arias & Pablo Fajnzylber & Andrew D. Mason & Jaime Saavedra-Chanduvi, 2007. "Informality : Exit and Exclusion," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6730.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Gerxhani, Klarita, 2004. "Tax evasion in transition: Outcome of an institutional clash? Testing Feige's conjecture in Albania," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 729-745, August.
  15. Yoshiaki Azuma & Herschel I. Grossman, 2002. "A Theory of the Informal Sector," NBER Working Papers 8823, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Guido Tabellini, 2008. "Presidential Address Institutions and Culture," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 255-294, 04-05.
  17. Mariagiovanna Baccara & Heski Bar-Isaac, 2008. "How to Organize Crime -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 1039-1067.
  18. Axel Dreher & Friedrich Schneider, 2010. "Corruption and the shadow economy: an empirical analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 144(1), pages 215-238, July.
  19. 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.
  20. Benno Torgler, 2003. "Tax Morale in Latin America," Working papers 2003/03, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
  21. 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.
  22. Niclas Berggren & Mikael Elinder & Henrik Jordahl, 2008. "Trust and growth: a shaky relationship," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 251-274, September.
  23. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1996. "Trust in Large Organizations," NBER Working Papers 5864, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Fehr, Ernst & Fischbacher, Urs & von Rosenbladt, Bernhard & Schupp, Jürgen & Wagner, Gert G., 2003. "A nation-wide laboratory: Examining trust and trustworthiness by integrating behavioral experiments into representative surveys," Discussion Papers 2003/1, Technische Universität Berlin, School of Economics and Management.
  25. John Ermisch & Diego Gambetta, 2010. "Do Strong Family Ties Inhibit Trust?," Post-Print hal-00849413, HAL.
  26. Friedrich Schneider, 2005. "Shadow Economies of 145 Countries all over the World: What Do We Really Know?," CREMA Working Paper Series 2005-13, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  27. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-1288.
  28. 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.
  29. Berggren, Niclas & Jordahl, Henrik, 2005. "Free to Trust? Economic Freedom and Social Capital," Ratio Working Papers 64, The Ratio Institute.
  30. Guido Tabellini, 2005. "Culture and Institutions: economic development in the regions of Europe," Working Papers 292, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  31. Zak, Paul J & Knack, Stephen, 2001. "Trust and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 295-321, April.
  32. J. Barkley Rosser Jr & Marina V. Rosser & Ehsan Ahmed, 2003. "Multiple unofficial economy equilibria and income distribution dynamics in systemic transition," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 25(3), pages 425-447, March.
  33. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
  34. Bjrnskov, Christian, 2009. "Social trust and the growth of schooling," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 249-257, April.
  35. Friedrich Schneider & Dominik Enste, 1999. "Shadow Economies Around the World - Size, Causes, and Consequences," CESifo Working Paper Series 196, CESifo Group Munich.
  36. Edgardo Campos, J. & Lien, Donald & Pradhan, Sanjay, 1999. "The Impact of Corruption on Investment: Predictability Matters," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 1059-1067, June.
  37. Lassen, David Dreyer, 2007. "Ethnic divisions, trust, and the size of the informal sector," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 423-438, July.
  38. Christian Bjornskov, 2003. "The Happy Few: Cross--Country Evidence on Social Capital and Life Satisfaction," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(1), pages 3-16, February.
  39. Sjoerd Beugelsdijk & Henri L.F. de Groot & Anton B.T.M. van Schaik, 2004. "Trust and economic growth: a robustness analysis," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(1), pages 118-134, January.
  40. Klarita Gërxhani, 2004. "The Informal Sector in Developed and Less Developed Countries: A Literature Survey," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 120(3_4), pages 267-300, 09.
  41. Heski Bar-Isaac & Mariagiovanna Baccara, 2006. "How to Organize Crime," Working Papers 06-07, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  42. Ronald Wintrobe, 2001. "Tax Evasion and Trust," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 200111, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  43. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1999. "Aggregating governance indicators," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2195, The World Bank.
  44. Friedman, Eric & Johnson, Simon & Kaufmann, Daniel & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 2000. "Dodging the grabbing hand: the determinants of unofficial activity in 69 countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 459-493, June.
  45. Rosser, J. Jr. & Rosser, Marina V. & Ahmed, Ehsan, 2000. "Income Inequality and the Informal Economy in Transition Economies," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 156-171, March.
  46. Marcouiller, Douglas & Young, Leslie, 1995. "The Black Hole of Graft: The Predatory State and the Informal Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 630-46, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:81:y:2012:i:1:p:97-121. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.