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Does the Underground Economy Hold Back Financial Deepening? Evidence from the Italian Credit Market

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  • Giorgio Gobbi
  • Roberta Zizza

Abstract

The paper investigates the relationship between underground activities and financial deepening. The access to external finance requires entrepreneurs to disclose credible information through formal documentation. This requirement may be impossible to oblige to for many informal producers who lack a proper book-keeping of their operations. For the same reason irregular workers may find difficult to borrow for financing both consumption and housing purchase. Using panel data on Italian regional credit markets we find a strong negative impact of the share of irregular employment on outstanding credit to the private sector. According to our estimates a shift of 1 per cent of the employees from regular activities to irregular ones corresponds to a decline of about 2 percentage points in the volume of business lending and of 0.3 percentage points in outstanding credit to households, both expressed as ratios to GDP. Conversely, the feedback effects from financial deepening to the size of the informal sector are weak and statistically not significant. Through a difference-in-difference approach exploiting the regularisation program for immigrant workers launched in 2002 we also identify a negative effect of the irregular labour on banks' entry decisions in the local credit markets, now defined in terms of provinces.

Suggested Citation

  • Giorgio Gobbi & Roberta Zizza, 2007. "Does the Underground Economy Hold Back Financial Deepening? Evidence from the Italian Credit Market," CEP Discussion Papers dp0789, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0789
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    2. Simone Auer & Emidio Cocozza & Andrea COlabella, 2016. "The financial systems in Russia and Turkey: recent developments and challenges," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 358, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    3. Bruno Chiarini & Maria Ferrara & Elisabetta Marzano, 2020. "Tax Evasion, Investment Shocks, and the Consumption Puzzle: A DSGE Analysis with Financial Frictions," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 52(4), pages 907-932, June.
    4. Rita Cappariello & Roberta Zizza, 2010. "Dropping the Books and Working Off the Books," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 24(2), pages 139-162, June.
    5. Salvatore Capasso & Stefano Monferrà & Gabriele Sampagnaro, 2015. "The Shadow Economy and Banks’ Lending Technology," CSEF Working Papers 422, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    6. Siddiki, Jalal, 2013. "The size and development of the shadow economy in Bangladesh: An empirical investigation," Economics Discussion Papers 2013-3, School of Economics, Kingston University London.
    7. Yilmaz Bayar & Omer Faruk Ozturk, 2016. "Financial Development and Shadow Economy in European Union Transition Economies," Managing Global Transitions, University of Primorska, Faculty of Management Koper, vol. 14(2 (Summer), pages 157-173.
    8. Henri Njangang & Luc Ndeffo Nembot & Joseph Pasky Ngameni, 2020. "Does financial development reduce the size of the informal economy in sub‐Saharan African countries?," African Development Review, African Development Bank, vol. 32(3), pages 375-391, September.
    9. Bruno Chiarini & Maria Ferrara & Elisabetta Marzano, 2016. "Investment Shocks, Tax Evasion and the Consumption Puzzle: A DSGE Analysis with Financial Frictions," CESifo Working Paper Series 6015, CESifo.
    10. Berdiev, Aziz N. & Saunoris, James W., 2016. "Financial development and the shadow economy: A panel VAR analysis," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 197-207.
    11. Téllez-León, Isela Elizabeth & Venegas-Martínez, Francisco, 2019. "Determinants of Financial Deepening in Mexico: A Dynamic Panel Data Approach || Determinantes de la Profundad Financiera en México: Un Enfoque de Datos De Panel Dinámico," Revista de Métodos Cuantitativos para la Economía y la Empresa = Journal of Quantitative Methods for Economics and Business Administration, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Quantitative Methods for Economics and Business Administration, vol. 27(1), pages 285-299, June.
    12. Misbah Kiani & Adeel Ahmed & Khalid Zaman, 2015. "Combining qualitative and quantitative approaches for measuring underground economy of Pakistan," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 49(1), pages 295-317, January.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    irregular employment; bank lending; school drop-out; entry; branching; regularisation programme;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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