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

Author

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  • Andrew Feltenstein

    ()

  • Maral Shamloo

    ()

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Feltenstein & Maral Shamloo, 2013. "Tax reform, the informal economy, and bank financing of capital formation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 20(1), pages 1-28, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:20:y:2013:i:1:p:1-28
    DOI: 10.1007/s10797-012-9213-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Moore, John, 1997. "Credit Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 211-248, April.
    4. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Klara Sabirianova Peter, 2009. "Myth and Reality of Flat Tax Reform: Micro Estimates of Tax Evasion Response and Welfare Effects in Russia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(3), pages 504-554, June.
    5. Anna Ivanova & Michael Keen & Alexander Klemm, 2005. "The Russian ‘flat tax’ reform," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 20(43), pages 397-444, July.
    6. Emran, M. Shahe & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 2005. "On selective indirect tax reform in developing countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 599-623, April.
    7. Feltenstein, Andrew & Rochon, Céline & Shamloo, Maral, 2010. "High growth and low consumption in East Asia: How to improve welfare while avoiding financial failures," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 25-36, January.
    8. 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.
    9. Gordon, Roger & Li, Wei, 2009. "Tax structures in developing countries: Many puzzles and a possible explanation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 855-866, August.
    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. 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 261-278, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Richard M. Bird & Michael Smart, 2012. "Financing Social Expenditures in Developing Countries: Payroll or Value Added Taxes?," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1206, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    2. Andrew Feltenstein & Luciana Lopes & Janet Porras Mendoza & Sally Wallace, 2013. "“The Impact of Micro-simulation and CGE modeling on Tax Reform and Tax Advice in Developing Countries”: A Survey of Alternative Approaches and an Application to Pakistan," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1309, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    3. Barbara Annicchiarico & Claudio Cesaroni, 2018. "Tax reforms and the underground economy: a simulation-based analysis," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 25(2), pages 458-518, April.
    4. McKay Andy & Pirttilä Jukka & Schimanski Caroline, 2018. "The Elasticity of Formal Work in African Countries," Working Papers 1820, University of Tampere, School of Management, Economics.
    5. Jeffrey Condon & Andrew Feltenstein & Florenz Plassman & Mark Rider & David L. Sjoquist, 2014. "A Regional Model of Growth Oriented Fiscal Policy: An Application to Georgia and Its Competitor States," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 44(2), pages 177-209, Summer.
    6. Andrew Feltenstein & Luciana Lopes & Janet Porras-Mendoza & Sally Wallace, 2014. "Modeling tax reform in developing countries," Chapters,in: Taxation and Development: The Weakest Link?, chapter 3, pages 69-102 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Andrew Feltenstein & Biplab Datta, 2018. "Broad Based Subsidies or Targeted Transfers? An Analysis of the Electricity Subsidy in Pakistan," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1801, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    8. repec:eee:asieco:v:52:y:2017:i:c:p:12-31 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Miriam Bruhn & Jan Loeprick, 2016. "Small business tax policy and informality: evidence from Georgia," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(5), pages 834-853, October.
    10. Bruhn, Miriam & Loeprick, Jan, 2014. "Small business tax policy, informality, and tax evasion -- evidence from Georgia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7010, The World Bank.
    11. Andrew Feltenstein & Carolina Mejia, 2015. "The Poverty Implications of Alternative Tax Reforms: Some Countries Intuitive Results In an Application to Pakistan," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1506, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    12. P Sivashankar & RMPS Rathnayake & Maneka Jayasinghe & Christine Smith, 2017. "Incidence of value added taxation on inequality: Evidence from Sri Lanka," Discussion Papers in Economics economics:201704, Griffith University, Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics.
    13. Feltenstein, Andrew & Mejia, Carolina & Newhouse, David & Sedrakyan, Gohar, 2017. "The poverty implications of alternative tax reforms: Results from a numerical application to Pakistan," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 12-31.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Underground economy; Tax compliance; Tax evasion; Russian economy; Bank financing of capital formation; Dynamic general equilibrium model; C68; H26; O52;

    JEL classification:

    • C68 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computable General Equilibrium Models
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe

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