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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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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2011/wp-cesifo-2011-08/cesifo1_wp3551.pdf
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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. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-79, April.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  5. Axel Dreher & Friedrich G. Schneider, 2006. "Corruption and the shadow economy: An empirical analysis," Economics working papers 2006-03, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  6. David E. A. Giles, 1998. "Modelling the Hidden Economy and the Tax-Gap in New Zealand," Econometrics Working Papers 9810, Department of Economics, University of Victoria.
  7. Thushyanthan Baskaran & Lars P. Feld, 2009. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Growth in OECD Countries: Is there a Relationship?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2721, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Mastruzzi, Massimo, 2008. "Governance matters VII : aggregate and individual governance indicators 1996-2007," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4654, The World Bank.
  9. 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.
  10. Désirée Teobaldelli, 2011. "Federalism and the shadow economy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(3), pages 269-289, March.
  11. Benno Torgler & Friedrich Schneider & Christoph A. Schaltegger, 2009. "Local Autonomy, Tax Morale and the Shadow Economy," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 243, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.
  12. Frey, Bruno S & Pommerehne, Werner W, 1984. "The Hidden Economy: State and Prospects for Measurement," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 30(1), pages 1-23, March.
  13. Friedrich Schneider, 2004. "Shadow Economies around the World: What do we really know?," IAW Discussion Papers 16, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).
  14. G. Gulsun Arikan, 2004. "Fiscal Decentralization: A Remedy for Corruption?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 175-195, 03.
  15. Klarita G�rxhani, 2004. "The Informal Sector in Developed and Less Developed Countries: A Literature Survey," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 120(3_4), pages 267-300, 09.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Oates, Wallace E., 1993. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Development," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 46(2), pages 237-43, June.
  19. Schneider, Friedrich G., 2007. "Shadow Economies and Corruption All Over the World: New Estimates for 145 Countries," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy, vol. 1, pages 1-66.
  20. Lars P. Feld & Friedrich Schneider, 2010. "Survey on the Shadow Economy and Undeclared Earnings in OECD Countries," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 11, pages 109-149, 05.
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