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The underground economy and its macroeconomic consequences

Author

Listed:
  • Era Dabla-Norris
  • Andrew Feltenstein

Abstract

This study develops a dynamic general equilibrium model in which optimizing agents evade taxes by operating in the underground economy. The cost to firms of evading taxes is that they find themselves subject to credit rationing from banks. Our model simulations show that in the absence of budgetary flexibility to adjust expenditures, raising tax rates too high drives firms into the underground economy, thereby reducing the tax base. Aggregate investment in the economy is lowered because of credit rationing. Taxes that are too low eliminate the underground economy, but result in unsustainable budget and trade deficits. Thus, the optimal rate of taxation, from a macroeconomic point of view, may lead to some underground activity.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jpolrf:v:8:y:2005:i:2:p:153-174
    DOI: 10.1080/13841280500086388
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Straub, Stéphane, 2005. "Informal sector: The credit market channel," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 299-321, December.
    2. Sarte, Pierre-Daniel G., 2000. "Informality and rent-seeking bureaucracies in a model of long-run growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 173-197, August.
    3. Burgess, Robin & Stern, Nicholas, 1993. "Taxation and Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 762-830, June.
    4. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Moore, John, 1997. "Credit Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 211-248, April.
    5. Dessy, Sylvain & Pallage, Stephane, 2003. "Taxes, inequality and the size of the informal sector," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 225-233, February.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Roberto Dell'Anno & Ferda Halicioglu, 2010. "An ARDL model of unrecorded and recorded economies in Turkey," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 37(6), pages 627-646, November.
    2. Catalina Granda Carvajal, 2015. "Informality and macroeconomic volatility: do credit constraints matter?," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 42(6), pages 1095-1111, November.
    3. Gerasimos T. Soldatos, 2016. "An Anti-Austerity Policy Recipe Against Debt Accumulation in the Presence of Hidden Economy," Asian Economic and Financial Review, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 6(2), pages 90-99, February.
    4. Salvatore Capasso & Stefano Monferrà & Gabriele Sampagnaro, 2015. "The Shadow Economy and Banks’ Lending Technology," CSEF Working Papers 422, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    5. repec:eur:ejserj:33 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Germana Giombini & Désirée Teobaldelli, 2012. "The effects of tax evasion and the inefficiency of the legal system on firms’ financial constraints: are they complements or substitutes?," Working Papers 1207, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Department of Economics, Society & Politics - Scientific Committee - L. Stefanini & G. Travaglini, revised 2012.
    7. Dabla-Norris, Era & Gradstein, Mark & Inchauste, Gabriela, 2008. "What causes firms to hide output? The determinants of informality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1-2), pages 1-27, February.
    8. 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.
    9. Andrew Feltenstein & Musharraf Cyan, 2012. "A Computational General Equilibrium Approach to Sectoral Analysis for Tax Potential: An Application to Pakistan," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1226, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    10. Capasso, Salvatore & Jappelli, Tullio, 2013. "Financial development and the underground economy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 167-178.
    11. Blackburn, Keith & Bose, Niloy & Capasso, Salvatore, 2012. "Tax evasion, the underground economy and financial development," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 243-253.
    12. Bittencourt, Manoel & Gupta, Rangan & Stander, Lardo, 2014. "Tax evasion, financial development and inflation: Theory and empirical evidence," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 194-208.
    13. Rand, John & Torm, Nina, 2012. "The Benefits of Formalization: Evidence from Vietnamese Manufacturing SMEs," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 983-998.
    14. repec:eee:reveco:v:55:y:2018:i:c:p:1-20 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. repec:eur:ejserj:32 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Kim, Sangheon, 2008. "Does political intention affect tax evasion?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 401-415.
    17. Giorgio Gobbi & Roberta Zizza, 2007. "Does the Underground Economy Hold Back Financial Deepening? Evidence from the Italian Credit Market," CEP Discussion Papers dp0789, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    18. Bruno Chiarini & Maria Ferrara & Elisabetta Marzano, 2016. "Investment Shocks, Tax Evasion and the Consumption Puzzle: A DSGE Analysis with Financial Frictions," CESifo Working Paper Series 6015, CESifo Group Munich.
    19. 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.
    20. 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.
    21. repec:kap:ejlwec:v:45:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10657-014-9434-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Soldatos, Gerasimos T., 2015. "An Anti-Austerity Policy Recipe against Debt Accumulation in the Presence of Hidden Economy," MPRA Paper 69911, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    23. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Robinson, Sherman, 2013. "Contribution of Computable General Equilibrium Modeling to Policy Formulation in Developing Countries," Handbook of Computable General Equilibrium Modeling, Elsevier.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Underground economy; macroeconomic performance; credit rationing JEL Classification: H26; E26; C68;

    JEL classification:

    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • E26 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Informal Economy; Underground Economy
    • C68 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computable General Equilibrium Models

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