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On the Political Economy of the Informal Sector and Income Redistribution

  • Ozan Hatipoglu
  • Gulenay Ozbek

In this paper we analyze a general equilibrium model in which agents choose to be employed in formal or in the informal sector. The formal sector is taxed to provide income subsidies and the level of redistribution is determined endogenously through majority voting. We explore how the demand for redistribution determined by majority voting interacts with the incentive to work in the untaxed informal market. We also investigate how different levels of the informal sector wage can explain simultaneous changes in the size of the informal sector and level of redistribution. The model is simulated to produce qualitative results to illustrate the differences between economies with different distributional features. The model accounts for the different sizes of informal sector and income redistribution in Mexico and United States.

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Paper provided by Bogazici University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2007/11.

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Date of creation: Nov 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bou:wpaper:2007/11
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  2. Ayse Imrohoroglu & Antonio Merlo & Peter Rupert, 1996. "On the political economy of income redistribution and crime," Working Paper 9609, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  3. Hildegart Ahumada & Facundo Alvaredo & Alfredo Canavese, 2007. "The monetary method and the size of the shadow economy: A critical assessment," Post-Print hal-00812851, HAL.
  4. Mazumdar, Dipak, 1976. "The urban informal sector," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 4(8), pages 655-679, August.
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  9. Dessy, Sylvain & Pallage, Stéphane, 2001. "Taxes, Inequality and the Size of the Informal Sector," Cahiers de recherche 0112, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
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  12. Brambila Macias, Jose, 2008. "The Dynamics of Parallel Economies. Measuring the Informal Sector in México," MPRA Paper 8400, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  16. Ihrig, Jane & Moe, Karine S., 2004. "Lurking in the shadows: the informal sector and government policy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 541-557, April.
  17. 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.
  18. Rauch, James E., 1991. "Modelling the informal sector formally," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 33-47, January.
  19. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  20. Fortin, Bernard & Marceau, Nicolas & Savard, Luc, 1997. "Taxation, wage controls and the informal sector," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 293-312, November.
  21. 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.
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