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Corruption And The Shadow Economy


  • Jay Pil Choi
  • Marcel Thum


This article develops a simple framework for analyzing the links between corruption and the unofficial economy and their implications for the official economy. In a model of self-selection with heterogeneous entrepreneurs, we show that the entrepreneurs' option to flee to the underground economy constrains a corrupt official's ability to introduce distortions to the economy for private gains. The unofficial economy thus mitigates government-induced distortions and, as a result, leads to enhanced economic activities in the official sector. In this sense, the presence of the unofficial sector acts as a complement to the official economy instead of as a substitute. Copyright 2005 by the Economics Department Of The University Of Pennsylvania And Osaka University Institute Of Social And Economic Research Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Jay Pil Choi & Marcel Thum, 2005. "Corruption And The Shadow Economy," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 46(3), pages 817-836, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:46:y:2005:i:3:p:817-836

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Jay Pil Choi & Marcel Thum, 2004. "The Economics of Repeated Extortion," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(2), pages 203-223, Summer.
    3. 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 630-646, June.
    4. Novos, Ian E & Waldman, Michael, 1984. "The Effects of Increased Copyright Protection: An Analytic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(2), pages 236-246, April.
    5. Thierry Verdier & Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "The Choice between Market Failures and Corruption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 194-211, March.
    6. Choi, Jay Pil & Thum, Marcel, 2003. "The dynamics of corruption with the ratchet effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 427-443, March.
    7. Eric Friedman & Simon Johnson & Daniel Kaufmann & Pablo Zoido-Lobaton, 1999. "Dodging the Grabbing Hand: The Determinants of Unofficial Activity in 69," Departmental Working Papers 199921, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
    8. 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.
    9. Pranab Bardhan, 1997. "Corruption and Development: A Review of Issues," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1320-1346, September.
    10. Rauch, James E., 1991. "Modelling the informal sector formally," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 33-47, January.
    11. Kolm, Serge-Christophe, 1973. "A note on optimum tax evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 265-270, July.
    12. Johnson, Simon & Kaufmann, Daniel & Zoido-Lobatón, Pablo, 1998. "Corruption, public finances and the unofficial economy," Sede de la CEPAL en Santiago (Estudios e Investigaciones) 34372, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    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. repec:hrv:faseco:30728045 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior
    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance


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