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Tax reform, the informal economy, and bank financing of capital formation

  • Andrew Feltenstein

    ()

  • Maral Shamloo

    ()

This paper develops a model that relates businesses’ entry into the underground economy to tax rates and the need to access the banking system. The model uses a dynamic approach in which both firms and banks optimize and in which the benefits to a firm of accessing the banking system are endogenous. A firm compares the return to capital with the marginal tax rate on capital income and uses the difference to determine how much of the tax to pay. At the same time, banks use a firm’s capital tax payments, combined with the capital tax rate to obtain an estimate of the firm’s minimum capital value. If the firm pays at least some taxes then it will have access to the banking system, which will allow it to finance investment. If the firm pays no taxes, then it cannot access the banks and cannot invest. We compare the equilibria resulting from tax compliance and tax evasion. We calibrate the model to a highly stylized version of the Russian economy, and analyze the effect of potential tax changes on the underground economy. We compute a dynamic equilibrium for our model, and note that it tracks the path of certain macroeconomic variables of the Russian economy (GDP, budget and trade balances, price level and interest rate) with some accuracy for the years 2001–2008. We are unable to track the underground economy, as this data is unobservable. We then carry out a series of counterfactual simulations, first asking if non-capital intensive firms have an incentive to evade taxes under existing value added tax rates. We find that they do, and that the incentive would have been greatly reduced if the value added tax rate had been selectively reduced for the non-capital intensive sectors. We then ask what the effect would be if the corporate tax rate were raised on capital intensive sectors. The simulations indicate that the capital intensive sectors would not increase their entry into the underground economy. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10797-012-9213-4
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Article provided by Springer in its journal International Tax and Public Finance.

Volume (Year): 20 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 1-28

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Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:20:y:2013:i:1:p:1-28
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=102915

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  1. Céline Rochon & Andrew Feltenstein & Maral Shamloo, 2007. "High Growth and Low Consumption in East Asia; How to Improve Welfare While Avoiding Financial Failures," IMF Working Papers 07/278, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Michael Keen & Alexander Klemm & Anna Ivanova, 2005. "The Russian Flat Tax Reform," IMF Working Papers 05/16, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Klara Sabirianova Peter, 2007. "Myth and Reality of Flat Tax Reform: Micro Estimates of Tax Evasion Response and Welfare Effects in Russia," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0720, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  4. Ball, Sheryl & Feltenstein, Andrew, 2001. "Bank failures and fiscal austerity: policy prescriptions for a developing country," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 247-270, November.
  5. Roger Gordon & Wei Li, 2005. "Tax Structure in Developing Countries: Many Puzzles and a Possible Explanation," NBER Working Papers 11267, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production II: Tax Rules," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(3), pages 261-78, June.
  7. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Moore, John, 1997. "Credit Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 211-48, April.
  8. M. Shahe Emran & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2002. "On Selective Indirect Tax Reform in Developing Countries," International Trade 0210003, EconWPA.
  9. John Piggott & John Whalley, 2001. "VAT Base Broadening, Self Supply, and the Informal Sector," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1084-1094, September.
  10. 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.
  11. Era Dabla-Norris & Andrew Feltenstein, 2005. "The underground economy and its macroeconomic consequences," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(2), pages 153-174.
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