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The devil is in the shadow. Do institutions affect income and productivity or only official income and official productivity?

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  • Axel Dreher
  • Pierre-Guillaume Méon
  • Friedrich Schneider

Abstract

This paper assesses the relationship between institutions, output, and productivity when official output is corrected for the size of the shadow economy. Our results confirm the usual positive impact of institutional quality on official output and total factor productivity, and its negative impact on the size of the underground economy. However, once output is corrected for the shadow economy, the relationship between institutions and output becomes weaker. The impact of institutions on total (“corrected”) factor productivity becomes insignificant. Differences in corrected output must then be attributed to differences in factor endowments. These results survive several tests for robustness. Copyright The Author(s) 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Axel Dreher & Pierre-Guillaume Méon & Friedrich Schneider, 2014. "The devil is in the shadow. Do institutions affect income and productivity or only official income and official productivity?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 158(1), pages 121-141, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:158:y:2014:i:1:p:121-141
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-012-9954-8
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Shadow economy; Income; Aggregate productivity; Development accounting; O11; O17; O47; O5;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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