IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/vrs/openec/v1y2018i1p49-70n4.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Informality: the Doorstep of the Legal System

Author

Listed:
  • Russo Francesco Flaviano

    (University of Naples Federico II and CSEF. Via Cinthia, Monte Sant’ Angelo, 80126, Napoli, Italy)

Abstract

Many entrepreneurs work informally because it is costly to start and run a business legally. Using a dynamic model of industry equilibrium, I show that the costs of the legal system can explain the cross country variability of the size of the informal economy. The model implies that the business start-up costs are more important than taxes and labor market regulations. Small, less productive, entrepreneurs, facing high entry costs, start informally, waiting to become more productive before legalizing. Informality is often the doorstep of the legal system.

Suggested Citation

  • Russo Francesco Flaviano, 2018. "Informality: the Doorstep of the Legal System," Open Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 49-70, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:vrs:openec:v:1:y:2018:i:1:p:49-70:n:4
    DOI: 10.1515/openec-2017-0004
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1515/openec-2017-0004
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1515/openec-2017-0004?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. D'Erasmo, Pablo N. & Moscoso Boedo, Hernan J., 2012. "Financial structure, informality and development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 286-302.
    2. Friedrich Schneider & Robert Klinglmair, 2004. "Shadow economies around the world: what do we know?," Economics working papers 2004-03, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    3. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Schneider, Friedrich, 2005. "Shadow economies around the world: what do we really know?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 598-642, September.
    5. Olivier Blanchard & Francesco Giavazzi, 2003. "Macroeconomic Effects of Regulation and Deregulation in Goods and Labor Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 879-907.
    6. Capasso, Salvatore & Jappelli, Tullio, 2013. "Financial development and the underground economy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 167-178.
    7. Giles, David E A, 1999. "Measuring the Hidden Economy: Implications for Econometric Modelling," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages 370-380, June.
    8. Klapper, Leora & Laeven, Luc & Rajan, Raghuram, 2006. "Entry regulation as a barrier to entrepreneurship," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 591-629, December.
    9. Francesco Caselli & Nicola Gennaioli, 2008. "Economics and Politics of Alternative Institutional Reforms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(3), pages 1197-1250.
    10. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "The Regulation of Entry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 1-37.
    11. Steven J. Davis & Magnus Henrekson, 2004. "Tax Effects on Work Activity, Industry Mix and Shadow Economy Size: Evidence from Rich-Country Comparisons," NBER Working Papers 10509, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. repec:hrv:faseco:30747190 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. 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.
    14. Yoshiaki Azuma & Herschel I. Grossman, 2008. "A Theory Of The Informal Sector," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(1), pages 62-79, March.
    15. Thierry Verdier & Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "The Choice between Market Failures and Corruption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 194-211, March.
    16. Marianne Bertrand & Francis Kramarz, 2002. "Does Entry Regulation Hinder Job Creation? Evidence from the French Retail Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1369-1413.
    17. Straub, Stéphane, 2005. "Informal sector: The credit market channel," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 299-321, December.
    18. Antunes, Antonio R. & Cavalcanti, Tiago V. de V., 2007. "Start up costs, limited enforcement, and the hidden economy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 203-224, January.
    19. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2004. "Can Labor Regulation Hinder Economic Performance? Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 91-134.
    20. Saul Estrin & Tomasz Mickiewicz, 2012. "Shadow Economy and Entrepreneurial Entry," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(4), pages 559-578, November.
    21. Hopenhayn, Hugo & Rogerson, Richard, 1993. "Job Turnover and Policy Evaluation: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(5), pages 915-938, October.
    22. Lemieux, Thomas & Fortin, Bernard & Frechette, Pierre, 1994. "The Effect of Taxes on Labor Supply in the Underground Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 231-254, March.
    23. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Warlters, Michael, 2005. "Taxation base in developing countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 625-646, April.
    24. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1992. "Gross Job Creation, Gross Job Destruction, and Employment Reallocation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 819-863.
    25. 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.
    26. Friedman, Eric & Johnson, Simon & Kaufmann, Daniel & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 2000. "Dodging the grabbing hand: the determinants of unofficial activity in 69 countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 459-493, June.
    27. 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.
    28. Friedrich Schneider & Dominik Enste, 1999. "Shadow Economies Around the World - Size, Causes, and Consequences," CESifo Working Paper Series 196, CESifo.
    29. Prado, Mauricio, 2011. "Government policy in the formal and informal sectors," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1120-1136.
    30. 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.
    31. Evans, David S, 1987. "Tests of Alternative Theories of Firm Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(4), pages 657-674, August.
    32. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-670, May.
    33. Francesco Busato & Bruno Chiarini, 2004. "Market and underground activities in a two-sector dynamic equilibrium model," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 23(4), pages 831-861, May.
    34. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli, 2006. "Small and medium-size enterprises: Access to finance as a growth constraint," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(11), pages 2931-2943, November.
    35. 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.
    36. Jay Pil Choi & Marcel Thum, 2005. "Corruption And The Shadow Economy," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 46(3), pages 817-836, August.
    37. Amaral, Pedro S. & Quintin, Erwan, 2006. "A competitive model of the informal sector," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1541-1553, October.
    38. Koreshkova, Tatyana A., 2006. "A quantitative analysis of inflation as a tax on the underground economy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 773-796, May.
    39. Hopenhayn, Hugo A, 1992. "Entry, Exit, and Firm Dynamics in Long Run Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1127-1150, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Zoë Kuehn, 2014. "Tax Rates, Governance, And The Informal Economy In High-Income Countries," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(1), pages 405-430, January.
    2. Berdiev, Aziz N. & Saunoris, James W., 2016. "Financial development and the shadow economy: A panel VAR analysis," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 197-207.
    3. Mitra, Shalini, 2014. "Tax Evasion, Tax Policies and the Role Played by Financial Markets," MPRA Paper 58977, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Arbex, Marcelo & Galvao, Antonio F. & Gomes, Fábio Augusto Reis, 2010. "Heterogeneity in the Returns to Education and Informal Activities," Insper Working Papers wpe_216, Insper Working Paper, Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa.
    5. Thorsten Beck & Chen Lin & Yue Ma, 2014. "Why Do Firms Evade Taxes? The Role of Information Sharing and Financial Sector Outreach," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 69(2), pages 763-817, April.
    6. Arbex, Marcelo, 2013. "Tax enforcement policies, tax evasion and time allocation," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 285-293.
    7. Prado, Mauricio, 2011. "Government policy in the formal and informal sectors," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1120-1136.
    8. Capasso, Salvatore & Jappelli, Tullio, 2013. "Financial development and the underground economy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 167-178.
    9. Mazhar, Ummad & Méon, Pierre-Guillaume, 2017. "Taxing the unobservable: The impact of the shadow economy on inflation and taxation," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 89-103.
    10. Mitton, Todd, 2008. "Institutions and concentration," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 367-394, June.
    11. Marcelo Arbex & Dennis O'Dea, 2011. "Informal work networks," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 44(1), pages 247-272, February.
    12. Lopez-Martin, Bernabe, 2019. "Informal Sector Misallocation," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(8), pages 3065-3098, December.
    13. Caro, Paolo Di & Sacchi, Agnese, 2020. "The heterogeneous effects of labor informality on VAT revenues: Evidence on a developed country," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 63(C).
    14. Pablo Acosta & Gabriel Montes-Rojas, 2014. "Informal Jobs and Trade Liberalisation in Argentina," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(8), pages 1104-1118, August.
    15. Mitra, Shalini, 2017. "To tax or not to tax? When does it matter for informality?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 117-127.
    16. Gareth Liu-Evans & Shalini Mitra, 2020. "Formal sector enforcement and welfare," Working Papers 202030, University of Liverpool, Department of Economics.
    17. Victor Tanaka, 2010. "The ‘informal sector’ and the political economy of development," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 145(1), pages 295-317, October.
    18. Ceyhun Elgin & Ferda Erturk, 2019. "Informal economies around the world: measures, determinants and consequences," Eurasian Economic Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 9(2), pages 221-237, June.
    19. Straub, Stéphane, 2005. "Informal sector: The credit market channel," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 299-321, December.
    20. Becker, Dennis, 2014. "Heterogeneous Firms and Informality: The Effects of Trade Liberalization on Labor Markets," Working Papers 180124, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:vrs:openec:v:1:y:2018:i:1:p:49-70:n:4. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://www.degruyter.com .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Peter Golla (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://www.degruyter.com .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.