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Estimating the size of the shadow economy in Spain: a structural model with latent variables

  • Angel Alanon
  • M. Gomez-Antonio

There has recently been a revival of international interest in measuring the size of the shadow economy. The current study adopts an approach to the Spanish case that is based on the theory of unobservable variables. This methodology involves the estimation of structural models (MIMIC) which analyses a set of causes of the shadow economy while simultaneously taking into account its influence upon a series of indicators. The proposed model permits the determination of a relative evolution over time of the size of the shadow economy, which requires the calibration of the model with an exogenous estimation in order to obtain real values. The exogenous estimation employed is that obtained by a monetary method based on a money demand function. The results show a considerable shadow economy, measuring between 8 and 18.8% of GDP in the period 1976-2002, and demonstrate that the shadow economy is significantly influenced by the tax burden, the degree of regulation and unit labour costs. A positive correlation is obtained between GDP, money demand and the level of the shadow economy.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 37 (2005)
Issue (Month): 9 ()
Pages: 1011-1025

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Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:37:y:2005:i:9:p:1011-1025
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  1. Frank Atkins, 1999. "Macroeconomic time series and the monetary aggregates approach to estimating the underground economy," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(9), pages 609-611.
  2. Giles, David E A, 1999. "Measuring the Hidden Economy: Implications for Econometric Modelling," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages F370-80, June.
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  6. David Giles, 1999. "The rise and fall of the New Zealand underground economy: are the responses symmetric?," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(3), pages 185-189.
  7. Adam, M. C. & Ginsburgh, V., 1985. "The effects of irregular markets on macroeconomic policy : Some estimates for belgium," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 15-33.
  8. Massimo Bordignon & Alberto Zanardi, 1997. "Tax Evasion in Italy," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 56(3-4), pages 169-210, December.
  9. Zellner, Arnold, 1970. "Estimation of Regression Relationships Containing Unobservable Independent Variables," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 11(3), pages 441-54, October.
  10. 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.
  11. Loayza, Norman V., 1996. "The economics of the informal sector: a simple model and some empirical evidence from Latin America," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 129-162, December.
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