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Decentralization and the shadow economy: Oates meets Allingham--Sandmo

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  • Andreas Buehn
  • Christian Lessmann
  • Gunther Markwardt

Abstract

This article studies the impact of decentralization on the shadow economy. We argue that decentralization may decrease the size of the shadow economy mainly through two transmission channels: (1) decentralization enhancing public sector efficiency ( efficiency effect ), and (2) decentralization reducing the distance between bureaucrats and economic agents, which increases the probability of detection of shadow economic activities ( deterrence effect ). Using various measures of fiscal, political and government employment decentralization in a cross-section of countries, we find the deterrence effect to be of more importance. The deterrence effect is stronger, the lower the degree of institutional quality. We find no robust evidence of the efficiency effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Buehn & Christian Lessmann & Gunther Markwardt, 2013. "Decentralization and the shadow economy: Oates meets Allingham--Sandmo," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(18), pages 2567-2578, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:45:y:2013:i:18:p:2567-2578
    DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2012.671923
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    Cited by:

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    2. Manes, Eran & Schneider, Friedrich & Tchetchik, Anat, 2016. "On the Boundaries of the Shadow Economy: An Empirical Investigation," IZA Discussion Papers 10067, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Rajeev K. Goel & James W. Saunoris, 2017. "Forms of government decentralization and institutional quality: evidence from a large sample of nations," Chapters, in: Naoyuki Yoshino & Peter J. Morgan (ed.), Central and Local Government Relations in Asia, chapter 12, pages 395-420, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Feige, Edgar L., 2015. "Reflections on the meaning and measurement of Unobserved Economies: What do we really know about the “Shadow Economy”?," MPRA Paper 68466, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Goel, Rajeev K. & Saunoris, James W., 2014. "Military versus non-military government spending and the shadow economy," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 350-359.
    6. Mohammad Javad Razmi & Arash Jamalmanesh, 2014. "How Political Indices Affect The Shadow Economy," Romanian Economic Business Review, Romanian-American University, vol. 9(1), pages 45-55, March.
    7. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Santiago Lago-Peñas & Agnese Sacchi, 2017. "The Impact Of Fiscal Decentralization: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(4), pages 1095-1129, September.
    8. Ceyhun Elgin & Oguz Oztunali, 2014. "Institutions, Informal Economy, and Economic Development," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(4), pages 145-162.
    9. Gheorghe ZAMAN & Zizi GOSCHIN, 2016. "A New Multidimensional Ranking of Shadow Economy for EU Countries," Romanian Journal of Economics, Institute of National Economy, vol. 43(2(52)), pages 14-33, december.
    10. Knobel, Alexander (Кнобель, Александр) & Chokaev, Bekhan (Чокаев, Бекхан) & Mironov, Alexey (Миронов, Алексей), 2015. "Comparative Analysis of the Effectiveness of Public Spending in the Field of National Defense and Law Enforcement [Сравнительный Анализ Эффективности Госрасходов В Сфере Национальной Обороны И Прав," Published Papers mn47, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.
    11. Joseph Keneck-Massil & Alphonse Noah, 2019. "Shadow economy and educational systems in Africa," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 39(2), pages 1467-1478.
    12. Petr Janský & Miroslav Palanský, 2016. "Fiscal decentralization and the shadow economy," WIDER Working Paper Series 172, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    13. Petr Janský & Miroslav Palanský, 2016. "Fiscal decentralization and the shadow economy," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2016-172, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    14. Hailin Chen & Friedrich Schneider & Qunli Sun, 2020. "Measuring the size of the shadow economy in 30 provinces of China over 1995–2016: The MIMIC approach," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(3), pages 427-453, August.
    15. Rajeev K. Goel & James W. Saunoris, 2016. "Virtual Versus Physical Government Decentralization: Effects on Corruption and the Shadow Economy," Public Budgeting & Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(4), pages 68-93, December.
    16. Abdelaaziz Aït Ali & Yassine Msadfa, 2017. "Manufacturing Employment Elasticity and Its Drivers in Developing and Emerging Countries : Focus on Sub-Saharan Africa," Research papers & Policy papers 1709, Policy Center for the New South.
    17. Khurrum S. Mughal & Friedrich G. Schneider & Zafar Hayat, 2020. "Intensity of Regulations as a Cause of the Informal Sector," Journal of South Asian Development, , vol. 15(2), pages 135-154, August.
    18. Andreas Buehn & Mohammad Reza Farzanegan, 2013. "Impact of education on the shadow economy: Institutions matter," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(3), pages 2052-2063.
    19. Canh P. Nguyen & Christophe Schinckus & Dinh Su Thanh, 2020. "Economic Fluctuations And The Shadow Economy: A Global Study," Global Economy Journal (GEJ), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 20(03), pages 1-24, September.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation

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