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Tax Enforcement, Technology, and the Informal Sector

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  • Ceyhun Elgin
  • Mario Solis-Garcia

Abstract

Theoretical models of the informal sector mostly assume—or end up with—a positive correlation between a measure of taxes and the size of the informal sector. However, some recent empirical studies associate higher taxes with a smaller informal sector size. In this paper, we build a theoretical framework—an extension to a two-sector growth model—which allows us to unravel the negative correlation between informal sector size and taxes. We find that (a) a higher degree of tax enforcement, (b) a higher productivity of formal sector households, and (c) a lower physical capital depreciation rate make for a negative relation between these variables. Our results suggest that enforcement and technological factors are likely candidates to account for this relationship.
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Suggested Citation

  • Ceyhun Elgin & Mario Solis-Garcia, 2014. "Tax Enforcement, Technology, and the Informal Sector," Working Papers 2014/05, Bogazici University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bou:wpaper:2014/05
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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