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Pollution and Informal Economy

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  • Ceyhun Elgin
  • Oguz Oztunali

Abstract

In this study, we investigate the relationship between the size of the informal economy and the level of environmental pollution/energy use. To this end, we first use different indicators of environmental pollution along with a measure of energy use intensity in a panel dataset consisting of 152 countries over the period 1999–2009 and empirically examine the relationship between pollution and the shadow economy. The estimation results show that there is an inverse-U relationship between the size of the informal economy and environmental pollution, that is, small and large sizes of the informal economy are associated with lower environmental pollution and medium levels of informality are associated with higher levels of environmental pollution. Next, we build a two sector dynamic general equilibrium model to suggest an economic mechanism for this observation. Our model identifies two channels through which informality might affect environmental pollution: The scale effect, whereby a larger (smaller) informal economy size is associated with a lower (higher) level of environmental pollution, and the deregulation effect, whereby a larger (smaller) informal economy is associated with higher (lower) pollution levels. As these two effects work in opposite directions, the changing relative strength of one with respect to the informal sector size creates the inverted-U relationship between pollution indicators and informality.
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Suggested Citation

  • Ceyhun Elgin & Oguz Oztunali, 2014. "Pollution and Informal Economy," Working Papers 2014/03, Bogazici University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bou:wpaper:2014/03
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bali Swain, Ranjula & Kambhampati, Uma S. & Karimu, Amin, 2020. "Regulation, governance and the role of the informal sector in influencing environmental quality?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 173(C).
    2. Feige, Edgar L., 2015. "Reflections on the meaning and measurement of Unobserved Economies: What do we really know about the “Shadow Economy”?," MPRA Paper 68466, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Sencer Atasoy, Burak, 2017. "Testing the environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis across the U.S.: Evidence from panel mean group estimators," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 731-747.
    4. Basbay, Mustafa Metin & Elgin, Ceyhun & Torul, Orhan, 2016. "Energy consumption and the size of the informal economy," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal (2007-2020), Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 10, pages 1-28.
    5. Jinhua Shao & Brayan Tillaguango & Rafael Alvarado & Santiago Ochoa-Moreno & Johanna Alvarado-Espejo, 2021. "Environmental Impact of the Shadow Economy, Globalisation, Trade and Market Size: Evidence Using Linear and Non-Linear Methods," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(12), pages 1-20, June.
    6. Canh, Nguyen Phuc & Schinckus, Christophe & Thanh, Su Dinh & Chong, Felicia Hui Ling, 2021. "The determinants of the energy consumption: A shadow economy-based perspective," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 225(C).
    7. 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.
    8. Goel, Rajeev K. & Saunoris, James W., 2020. "Spatial spillovers of pollution onto the underground sector," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 144(C).
    9. Song, Malin & Du, Juntao & Tan, Kim Hua, 2018. "Impact of fiscal decentralization on green total factor productivity," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 205(C), pages 359-367.
    10. Cong Minh Huynh, 2020. "Shadow economy and air pollution in developing Asia: what is the role of fiscal policy?," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 22(3), pages 357-381, July.
    11. Zhimin Zhou, 2019. "The Underground Economy and Carbon Dioxide (CO 2 ) Emissions in China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(10), pages 1-20, May.
    12. Nguyen Phuc Canh & Su Dinh Thanh & Christophe Schinckus & Jo Bensemann & Lai Trung Thanh, 2019. "Global Emissions: A New Contribution from the Shadow Economy," International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy, Econjournals, vol. 9(3), pages 320-337.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E26 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Informal Economy; Underground Economy
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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