The dynamics of parallel economies. Measuring the informal sector in Mexico
The existence of parallel economies that operate in the shadows of informality within most Latin American countries is widely recognized by the economic literature. However, its composition, size and effects on economic growth are still open questions. In this paper, we estimate the size and the evolution of the Mexican informal economy in the last three decades using a vector error correction model. In addition to the standard explanatory variables traditionally used in the currency demand approach, we include remittances given their relevance in the Mexican economic system. The results indicate that informality prior to the late 1980s accounted for at least two thirds of GDP, while stabilizing around one third of GDP in the last decade. Furthermore, our estimates provide evidence of a positive long-run relationship between informality and economic growth.
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