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The heterogeneous effects of labor informality on VAT revenues: Evidence on a developed country

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  • Caro, Paolo Di
  • Sacchi, Agnese

Abstract

The value-added tax is spread in many countries primarily because it allows rising public revenues, but its revenue performance can be undermined in the presence of informality. We document the existence of heterogeneous effects of labor informality on VAT collection in a developed country such as Italy. By using novel regional administrative data on VAT revenues, we find that labor informality produces negative effects on total VAT collection, including VAT on production and consumption, and positive effects on VAT revenues from consumption only. We also find that the consequences of labor informality on VAT collection depend on the size of informality, by approximating an-inverted U-relation. As for Italy, we explain such heterogeneous effects with the presence of regional differences in labor market conditions. We also document that labor informality has heterogeneous effects on VAT collection when considering specific productive sectors, and the cyclical consequences of the Great Recession.

Suggested Citation

  • Caro, Paolo Di & Sacchi, Agnese, 2020. "The heterogeneous effects of labor informality on VAT revenues: Evidence on a developed country," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 63(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jmacro:v:63:y:2020:i:c:s0164070419301818
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jmacro.2020.103190
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    3. Ali Bayar & Barbara Bratta & Silvia Carta & Paolo Di Caro & Marco Manzo & Carlo Orecchia, 2021. "Assessing the effects of VAT policies with an integrated CGE-microsimulation approach: evidence on Italy," Working Papers wp2021-14, Ministry of Economy and Finance, Department of Finance.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    VAT collection; Labor informality; Administrative data; Great Recession;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E26 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Informal Economy; Underground Economy
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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