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Fiscal policy with an informal sector

Author

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  • Harris Dellas

    (University of Bern)

  • Dimitris Malliaropulos

    (Bank of Greece)

  • Dimitris Papageorgiou

    (Bank of Greece)

  • Evangelia Vourvachaki

    (Bank of Greece)

Abstract

Macroeconomic models that omit the shadow economy systematically mis-forecast and mis-measure the effect of fiscal –in particular tax– policy on economic activity and tax revenue. We add an informal sector to the Bank of Greece DSGE model and use the actual package of fiscal consolidation implemented in Greece over the period 2010–2015 to evaluate the role of the black economy. In the data, official Greek GDP declined by about 26%, budget deficits proved larger and more persistent and tax rates increased by much more and tax revenue by much less than predicted. The model replicates the official output decline but implies a true output decline that is less than two thirds of that in recorded output. The discrepancy is even more pronounced for employment. The model also implies that the size of fiscal adjustment and the drop in economic activity could have been considerably milder had the informal sector been curtailed (it instead increased by about 50%). The underground economy seems to have been a key factor in Greece’s failure to achieve orderly debt consolidation while avoiding economic depression.

Suggested Citation

  • Harris Dellas & Dimitris Malliaropulos & Dimitris Papageorgiou & Evangelia Vourvachaki, 2017. "Fiscal policy with an informal sector," Working Papers 235, Bank of Greece.
  • Handle: RePEc:bog:wpaper:235
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Pappa, Evi & Sajedi, Rana & Vella, Eugenia, 2015. "Fiscal consolidation with tax evasion and corruption," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(S1), pages 56-75.
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    8. Hondroyiannis, George & Papaoikonomou, Dimitrios, 2017. "The effect of card payments on VAT revenue: New evidence from Greece," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 17-20.
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    Cited by:

    1. Masuch, Klaus & Anderton, Robert & Setzer, Ralph & Benalal, Nicholai, 2018. "Structural policies in the euro area," Occasional Paper Series 210, European Central Bank.
    2. Francesco Pappadà & Yanos Zylberberg, 2019. "Sovereign Default and Imperfect Tax Enforcement," CESifo Working Paper Series 7694, CESifo.
    3. Chodorow-Reich, Gabriel & Karabarbounis, Loukas & Kekre, Rohan, 2019. "The Macroeconomics of the Greek Depression," CEPR Discussion Papers 13762, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Thibault Lemaire, 2020. "Fiscal Consolidations and Informality in Latin America and the Caribbean," Post-Print halshs-02492309, HAL.
    5. Economides, George & Papageorgiou, Dmitris & Philippopoulos, Apostolis, 2020. "Macroeconomic policy lessons from Greece," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 107155, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Yannis Stournaras, 2019. "Lessons from the Greek Crisis: Past, Present, Future," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 47(2), pages 127-135, June.
    7. Kostarakos, Ilias & Varthalitis, Petros, 2020. "Fiscal Policy and Growth in a panel of EU countries over 1995-2017," Papers WP675, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    8. George Economides & Dimitris Papageorgiou & Apostolis Philippopoulos, 2020. "Macroeconomic policy lessons for Greece," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 152, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
    9. Kostarakos, Ilias & Varthalitis, Petros, 2020. "Effective tax rates in Ireland," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number RS110.
    10. Dimakopoulou, Vasiliki & Economides, George & Philippopoulos, Apostolis, 2022. "The ECB's policy, the Recovery Fund and the importance of trust and fiscal corrections: The case of Greece," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 112(C).
    11. Dimitris Papageorgiou & Stylianos Tsiaras, 2021. "The Greek Great Depression from a neoclassical perspective," Working Papers 286, Bank of Greece.
    12. Aysit Tansel & Halil Ibrahim Keskin & Zeynel Abidin Ozdemir, 2020. "Is there an informal employment wage penalty in Egypt? Evidence from quantile regression on panel data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 58(6), pages 2949-2979, June.
    13. Dimitris Malliaropulos & Dimitris Papageorgiou & Melina Vasardani & Evangelia Vourvachaki, 2021. "The impact of the Recovery and Resilience Facility on the Greek economy," Economic Bulletin, Bank of Greece, issue 53, pages 7-28, July.
    14. Paraskevi Koufopoulou & Colin C. Williams & Athanassios Vozikis & Kyriakos Souliotis & Antonios Samprakos, 2021. "Estimating Shadow Economy Size in Greece 2000 - 2018: A Flexible MIMIC Approach," SPOUDAI Journal of Economics and Business, SPOUDAI Journal of Economics and Business, University of Piraeus, vol. 71(3-4), pages 23-47, July-Dece.
    15. George Economides & Dimitris Papageorgiou & Apostolis Philippopoulos, 2021. "Austerity, Assistance and Institutions: Lessons from the Greek Sovereign Debt Crisis," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 435-478, July.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Shadow economy; fiscal consolidation; multipliers; tax revenue; true output;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E26 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Informal Economy; Underground Economy
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • H68 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Forecasts of Budgets, Deficits, and Debt

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