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Size, Trend, and Policy Implications of the Underground Economy

We study the underground economy in a dynamic and stochastic general equilibrium framework. Our model combines limited tax enforcement with an otherwise standard two-sector neoclassical stochastic growth model. The Bayesian estimation of the model based on Italian data provides evidence in favor of an important underground sector in Italy, with a size that has steadily increased over the whole sample period. We show that this pattern is due to a persistent increase in taxation. Fiscal policy experiments suggest that a moderate tax cut, along with a stronger effort in the monitoring process, causes a sensitive reduction in the size of the underground economy and positive stimulus to the regular sector that jointly increase the total fiscal revenues.

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Paper provided by Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna in its series Working Papers with number wp818.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
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Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:wp818
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