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Money Laundering as a Financial Sector Crime - A New Approach to Measurement, with an Application to Italy

  • Guerino Ardizzi
  • Carmelo Petraglia
  • Massimiliano Piacenza
  • Friedrich Schneider
  • Gilberto Turati

Anti–money laundering regulations have been centred on the “Know-Your-Customer” rule so far, overlooking the fact that criminal proceedings that need to be laundered are usually represented by cash. This is the first study which tries to provide an answer to the question of how much of cash deposited via an official financial institution can be traced back to criminal activities. The paper develops a new approach to measure money laundering and then proposes an application to Italy, a country where cash is still widely used in transactions and criminal activities generate significant proceeds. In particular, we define a model of cash in-flows on current accounts and proxy money laundering with two indicators for the diffusion of criminal activities related to both illegal trafficking and extortion, controlling also for structural (legal) motivations to deposit cash, as well as the need to conceal proceeds from tax evasion. Using a panel of 91 Italian provinces observed over the period 2005-2008, we find that the average total size of money laundering is sizable, around 7% of GDP, 3/4 of which is due to illegal trafficking, while 1/4 is attributable to extortions. Furthermore, the incidence of “dirty money” coming from illegal trafficking is higher in the Centre-North than in the South, while the inverse is true for money laundering coming from extortions.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2013/wp-cesifo-2013-02/cesifo1_wp4127.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4127.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4127
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  1. Keith Blackburn & Niloy Bosey & Salvatore Capasso, 2008. "Financial Development and the Underground Economy," Working Papers 5_2008, D.E.S. (Department of Economic Studies), University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.
  2. Daniel Hoechle, 2007. "Robust standard errors for panel regressions with cross-sectional dependence," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 7(3), pages 281-312, September.
  3. Torgler, Benno & Schneider, Friedrich, 2007. "The Impact of Tax Morale and Institutional Quality on the Shadow Economy," IZA Discussion Papers 2541, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Andrea Brandolini & Giovanni D’Alessio & Luigi Cannari & Ivan Faiella, 2004. "Household Wealth Distribution in Italy in the 1990s," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_414, Levy Economics Institute.
  5. Friedrich Schneider & Ursula Windischbauer, 2010. "Money Laundering: Some Facts," Economics of Security Working Paper Series 25, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  6. Capasso, Salvatore & Jappelli, Tullio, 2013. "Financial development and the underground economy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 167-178.
  7. Alexeev, Michael & Janeba, Eckhard & Osborne, Stefan, 2004. "Taxation and evasion in the presence of extortion by organized crime," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 375-387, September.
  8. Malte Krueger & Charles Goodhart, 2001. "The Impact of Technology on Cash Usage," FMG Discussion Papers dp374, Financial Markets Group.
  9. Friedrich Schneider & Dominik Enste, 2000. "Shadow Economies Around the World; Size, Causes, and Consequences," IMF Working Papers 00/26, International Monetary Fund.
  10. Friedrich Schneider, 2010. "Turnover of organized crime and money laundering: some preliminary empirical findings," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 144(3), pages 473-486, September.
  11. 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.
  12. Walker John & Unger Brigitte, 2009. "Measuring Global Money Laundering: "The Walker Gravity Model"," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 821-853, December.
  13. Amedeo Argentiero & Michele Bagella & Francesco Busato, 2008. "Money laundering in a two sector model: using theory for measurement," CEIS Research Paper 128, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 09 Sep 2008.
  14. Guerino Ardizzi & Carmelo Petraglia & Massimiliano Piacenza & Gilberto Turati, 2012. "Measuring the underground economy with the currency demand approach: a reinterpretation of the methodology, with an application to Italy," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 864, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  15. Andreas Buehn & Friedrich Schneider, 2012. "Shadow economies around the world: novel insights, accepted knowledge, and new estimates," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 139-171, February.
  16. Wagstaff, Adam & van Doorslaer, Eddy & Watanabe, Naoko, 2003. "On decomposing the causes of health sector inequalities with an application to malnutrition inequalities in Vietnam," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 207-223, January.
  17. Johnson, Simon & Kaufmann, Daniel & McMillan, John & Woodruff, Christopher, 2000. "Why do firms hide? Bribes and unofficial activity after communism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 495-520, June.
  18. Raffaella Barone & Donato Masciandaro, 2011. "Organized crime, money laundering and legal economy: theory and simulations," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 115-142, August.
  19. J. C. Sharman, 2010. "Shopping for Anonymous Shell Companies: An Audit Study of Anonymity and Crime in the International Financial System," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(4), pages 127-40, Fall.
  20. Friedrich Schneider (ed.), 2011. "Handbook on the Shadow Economy," Books, Edward Elgar, number 13432, December.
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