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Decentralization and the Shadow Economy: Oates Meets Allingham-Sandmo

  • Andreas Bühn
  • Christian Lessmann
  • Gunther Markwardt

This paper studies the impact of decentralization on the shadow economy. We argue that decentralization may decrease the size of the shadow economy mainly through two transmission channels: (1) Decentralization enhancing public sector efficiency (efficiency effect), and (2) decentralization reducing the distance between bureaucrats and economic agents, which increases the probability of detection of shadow economic activities (deterrence effect). Using various measures of fiscal, political and government employment decentralization in a cross-section of countries, we find the deterrence effect to be of more importance. The deterrence effect is stronger, the lower the degree of institutional quality. Remarkably, we find no robust evidence of the efficiency effect.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3551.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3551
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  1. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1998. "The Quality of Goverment," NBER Working Papers 6727, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Désirée Teobaldelli, 2011. "Federalism and the shadow economy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(3), pages 269-289, March.
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  11. Allingham, Michael G. & Sandmo, Agnar, 1972. "Income tax evasion: a theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 323-338, November.
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  14. Michael Alexeev & Luba Habodaszova, 2007. "Decentralization, Corruption, and the Unofficial Economy," Caepr Working Papers 2007-008, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
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  16. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Mastruzzi, Massimo, 2009. "Governance matters VIII : aggregate and individual governance indicators 1996-2008," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4978, The World Bank.
  17. 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.
  18. Benno Torgler & Friedrich Schneider & Christoph A. Schaltegger, 2008. "Local Autonomy, Tax Morale and the Shadow Economy," CREMA Working Paper Series 2008-24, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  19. Fan, C. Simon & Lin, Chen & Treisman, Daniel, 2009. "Political decentralization and corruption: Evidence from around the world," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 14-34, February.
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  21. Klovland, Jan Tore, 1984. " Tax Evasion and the Demand for Currency in Norway and Sweden. Is There a Hidden Relationship?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 86(4), pages 423-39.
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