IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ces/ceswps/_4448.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Estimating the Size of the Shadow Economy: Methods, Problems and Open Questions

Author

Listed:
  • Friedrich Schneider
  • Andreas Bühn

Abstract

This paper presents the various methods to estimate the size of the shadow economy, their strengths and weaknesses. The purpose of the paper is twofold. Firstly, it demonstrates that no ideal method to estimate the size and development of the shadow economy exists. Because of its flexibility, the MIMIC method used to get macro-estimates of the size of the shadow economy is discussed in greater detail. Secondly, the paper focuses on the definition and causal factors of the shadow economy as well as on a comparison of the size of the shadow economy using different estimation methods.

Suggested Citation

  • Friedrich Schneider & Andreas Bühn, 2013. "Estimating the Size of the Shadow Economy: Methods, Problems and Open Questions," CESifo Working Paper Series 4448, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4448
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.cesifo.org/DocDL/cesifo1_wp4448.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Friedrich Schneider, 2013. "Work in the Shadow: Some Facts," Economics working papers 2013-18, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    2. David E. A. Giles, 1999. "Modelling the hidden economy and the tax-gap in New Zealand," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 621-640.
    3. Roberto Dell’Anno & Miguel Gómez-Antonio & Angel Alañon-Pardo, 2007. "The shadow economy in three Mediterranean countries: France, Spain and Greece. A MIMIC approach," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 197-197, July.
    4. 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(2), pages 109-149, May.
    5. Vito Tanzi, 1986. "The Underground Economy in the United States: Reply to Comments by Feige, Thomas, and Zilberfarb," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 33(4), pages 799-811, December.
    6. Andreas Buehn & Friedrich Schneider, 2012. "Shadow economies around the world: novel insights, accepted knowledge, and new estimates," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(1), pages 139-171, February.
    7. Axel Dreher & Christos Kotsogiannis & Steve McCorriston, 2009. "How do institutions affect corruption and the shadow economy?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 16(6), pages 773-796, December.
    8. David Giles & Lindsay Tedds & Gugsa Werkneh, 2002. "The Canadian underground and measured economies: Granger causality results," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(18), pages 2347-2352.
    9. Edgar L. Feige, 1986. "A Re-Examination of the "Underground Economy" in the United States: A Comment on Tanzi," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 33(4), pages 768-781, December.
    10. Kirchler,Erich, 2007. "The Economic Psychology of Tax Behaviour," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521876742, December.
    11. Friedrich Schneider, 2005. "Shadow Economies of 145 Countries all over the World: What Do We Really Know?," CREMA Working Paper Series 2005-13, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    12. Colin C. WILLIAMS & Mark A. LANSKY, 2013. "Informal employment in developed and developing economies: Perspectives and policy responses," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 152(3-4), pages 355-380, December.
    13. Schneider, Friedrich, 2005. "Shadow economies around the world: what do we really know?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 598-642, September.
    14. Torgler, Benno & Schneider, Friedrich, 2009. "The impact of tax morale and institutional quality on the shadow economy," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 228-245, April.
    15. David Giles, 1997. "Causality between the measured and underground economies in New Zealand," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(1), pages 63-67.
    16. Axel Dreher & Friedrich Schneider, 2010. "Corruption and the shadow economy: an empirical analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 144(1), pages 215-238, July.
    17. Schneider Friedrich, 2015. "Schattenwirtschaft und Schattenarbeitsmarkt: Die Entwicklungen der vergangenen 20 Jahre," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 16(1), pages 3-25, March.
    18. Schneider Friedrich, 2010. "The Influence of Public Institutions on the Shadow Economy: An Empirical Investigation for OECD Countries," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(3), pages 441-468, December.
    19. Giles, David E A, 1997. "Testing for Asymmetry in the Measured and Underground Business Cycles in New Zealand," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 73(222), pages 225-232, September.
    20. van Eck, Robert & Kazemier, Brugt, 1988. "Features of the Hidden Economy in the Netherlands," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(3), pages 251-273, September.
    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 423-439.
    22. Frey, Bruno S & Weck, Hannelore, 1983. "Estimating the Shadow Economy: A 'Naive' Approach," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(1), pages 23-44, March.
    23. 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.
    24. Friedrich Schneider & Dominik Enste, 1999. "Shadow Economies Around the World - Size, Causes, and Consequences," CESifo Working Paper Series 196, CESifo.
    25. Schneider,Friedrich & Enste,Dominik H., 2016. "The Shadow Economy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781316600894, July.
    26. Schneider, Friedrich & Buehn, Andreas, 2012. "Shadow Economies in Highly Developed OECD Countries: What Are the Driving Forces?," IZA Discussion Papers 6891, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    27. Giles, David E A, 1999. "Measuring the Hidden Economy: Implications for Econometric Modelling," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages 370-380, June.
    28. Schneider, Friedrich, 1986. " Estimating the Size of the Danish Shadow Economy Using the Currency Demand Approach: An Attempt," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(4), pages 643-668.
    29. Mária Lackó, 2000. "Hidden Economy – an Unknown Quantity? Comparative Analysis of Hidden Economies in Transition Countries, 1989–95," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 8(1), pages 117-149, March.
    30. Helberger, Christof & Knepel, Helmut, 1988. "How big is the shadow economy? : A re-analysis of the unobserved-variable approach of B.S. Frey and H. Weck-Hannemann," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 965-976, April.
    31. Alm, James & Torgler, Benno, 2006. "Culture differences and tax morale in the United States and in Europe," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 224-246, April.
    32. Arne Jon Isachsen & Steiner Strøm, 1985. "The Size And Growth Of The Hidden Economy In Norway," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 31(1), pages 21-38, March.
    33. Hans‐Georg Petersen, 1982. "Size Of The Public Sector, Economic Growth And The Informal Economy: Development Trends In The Federal Republic Of Germany," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 28(2), pages 191-215, June.
    34. Colin C. Williams & Sara Nadin, 2012. "Tackling Undeclared Work in the European Union," CESifo Forum, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 13(02), pages 20-25, July.
    35. Vito Tanzi, 1983. "The Underground Economy in the United States: Annual Estimates, 1930-80 (L'économie clandestine aux Etats-Unis: estimations annuelles, 1930-80) (La "economía subterránea" de Estados Unido," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 30(2), pages 283-305, June.
    36. Philip Cagan, 1958. "The Demand for Currency Relative to Total Money Supply," NBER Chapters, in: The Demand for Currency Relative to Total Money Supply, pages 1-37, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    37. Ben-Zion Zilberfarb, 1986. "Estimates of the Underground Economy in the United States, 1930-80: A Comment on Tanzi," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 33(4), pages 790-798, December.
    38. Pissarides, Christopher A. & Weber, Guglielmo, 1989. "An expenditure-based estimate of Britain's black economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 17-32, June.
    39. James Alm and Joege Martinez Vazquez, 2003. ""Sizing" the problem of the Hard-to-Tax," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0321, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    40. Bhattacharyya, Dilip K, 1999. "On the Economic Rationale of Estimating the Hidden Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages 348-359, June.
    41. Hariharan Swaminathan & James Algina, 1978. "Scale freeness in factor analysis," Psychometrika, Springer;The Psychometric Society, vol. 43(4), pages 581-583, December.
    42. Tanzi, Vito, 1999. "Uses and Abuses of Estimates of the Underground Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages 338-347, June.
    43. J. J. Thomas, 1986. "The Underground Economy in the United States: A Comment on Tanzi," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 33(4), pages 782-789, December.
    44. Colin C. Williams, 2013. "Evaluating cross-national variations in the extent and nature of informal employment in the European Union," Industrial Relations Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(5-6), pages 479-494, November.
    45. Contini, Bruno B, 1981. "Labor Market Segmentation and the Development of the Parallel Economy-The Italian Experience," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(3), pages 401-412, November.
    46. Stefan D. HAIGNER & Stefan JENEWEIN & Friedrich SCHNEIDER & Florian WAKOLBINGER, 2013. "Driving forces of informal labour supply and demand in Germany," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 152(3-4), pages 507-524, December.
    47. Bruno S. Frey & Werner W. Pommerehne, 1984. "The Hidden Economy: State And Prospects For Measurement1," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 30(1), pages 1-23, March.
    48. David Giles, 1999. "The rise and fall of the New Zealand underground economy: are the responses symmetric?," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(3), pages 185-189.
    49. 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.
    50. Friedrich Schneider & Désirée Teobaldelli, 2012. "Beyond the Veil of Ignorance: The Influence of Direct Democracy on the Shadow Economy," CESifo Working Paper Series 3749, CESifo.
    51. Friedman, Eric & Johnson, Simon & Kaufmann, Daniel & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 2000. "Dodging the grabbing hand: the determinants of unofficial activity in 69 countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 459-493, June.
    52. 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 (IfW), vol. 1, pages 1-66.
    53. Frey, Bruno S. & Weck-Hanneman, Hannelore, 1984. "The hidden economy as an 'unobserved' variable," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(1-2), pages 33-53.
    54. Robert van Eck & Brugt Kazemier, 1988. "Features Of The Hidden Economy In The Netherlands," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(3), pages 251-273, September.
    55. Andreas Buehn & Alexander Karmann & Friedrich Schneider, 2009. "Shadow Economy and Do-it-Yourself Activities: The German Case," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 165(4), pages 701-722, December.
    56. Michael Pickhardt & Jordi Sarda Pons, 2006. "Size and scope of the underground economy in Germany," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(14), pages 1707-1713.
    57. Feige, Edgar L, 1994. "The Underground Economy and the Currency Enigma," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 49(Supplemen), pages 119-136.
    58. Dell'Anno, Roberto, "undated". "Estimating the Shadow Economy in Italy: a Structural Equation Approach," Economics Working Papers 2003-7, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    59. Thomas, Jim, 1999. "Quantifying the Black Economy: 'Measurement without Theory' Yet Again?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages 381-389, June.
    60. David KUCERA & Leanne RONCOLATO, 2008. "Informal employment: Two contested policy issues," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 147(4), pages 321-348, December.
    61. Roberto Dell'Anno, 2007. "The Shadow Economy in Portugal: An Analysis with the Mimic Approach," Journal of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(2), pages 253-277, November.
    62. Ahumada, Hildegart & Alvaredo, Facundo & Canavese, Alfredo J., 2006. "The Demand for Currency Approach and the Size of the Shadow Economy: A Critical Assessment," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt6zn9p98b, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
    63. Klarita Gërxhani, 2004. "The Informal Sector in Developed and Less Developed Countries: A Literature Survey," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 120(3_4), pages 267-300, September.
    64. Payal Kumar & I.S.F. Irudayaraj & M.G. Jomon & Manish Singhal, 2013. "The Shadow of Negative Mentoring at the Workplace," Management and Labour Studies, XLRI Jamshedpur, School of Business Management & Human Resources, vol. 38(4), pages 357-371, November.
    65. repec:hrv:faseco:30728045 is not listed on IDEAS
    66. Désirée Teobaldelli, 2011. "Federalism and the shadow economy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(3), pages 269-289, March.
    67. Schneider, Friedrich, 1994. "Can the Shadow Economy Be Reduced through Major Tax Reforms? An Empirical Investigation for Austria," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 49(Supplemen), pages 137-152.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Schneider, Friedrich, 2014. "The Shadow Economy and Shadow Labor Force: A Survey of Recent Developments," IZA Discussion Papers 8278, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Schneider Friedrich & Buehn Andreas, 2017. "Shadow Economy: Estimation Methods, Problems, Results and Open questions," Open Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-29, March.
    3. Colin C. Williams & Friedrich Schneider, 2016. "Measuring the Global Shadow Economy," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 16551.
    4. Friedrich G. Schneider, 2006. "Shadow Economies and Corruption all over the World: What do we really know?," Economics working papers 2006-17, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    5. Friedrich Schneider, 2014. "In the Shadow of the State – The Informal Economy and Informal Economy Labor Force," DANUBE: Law and Economics Review, European Association Comenius - EACO, issue 4, pages 227-248, December.
    6. repec:ces:ifodic:v:14:y:2017:i:4:p:19267788 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Friedrich Schneider & Robert Klinglmair, 2004. "Shadow economies around the world: what do we know?," Economics working papers 2004-03, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    8. Schneider, Friedrich, 2005. "Shadow economies around the world: what do we really know?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 598-642, September.
    9. Friedrich Schneider, 2013. "Size and Progression of the Shadow Economies of Turkey and Other OECD Countries from 2003 to 2013; Some New Facts," Ekonomi-tek - International Economics Journal, Turkish Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 83-116, May.
    10. Friedrich Schneider, 2017. "Estimating the Size of the Shadow Economies of Highly-developed Countries: Selected New Results," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 14(04), pages 44-53, February.
    11. Friedrich Schneider, 2017. "Estimating the Size of the Shadow Economies of Highly-developed Countries: Selected New Results," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 14(4), pages 44-53, 02.
    12. Schneider, Friedrich, 2004. "The Size of the Shadow Economies of 145 Countries all over the World: First Results over the Period 1999 to 2003," IZA Discussion Papers 1431, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. Lars P. Feld & Friedrich Schneider, 2011. "Survey on the Shadow Economy and Undeclared Work in OECD Countries," Chapters, in: Friedrich Schneider (ed.), Handbook on the Shadow Economy, chapter 2, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    14. Friedrich Schneider, 2012. "The Shadow Economy and Tax Evasion: What Do We (Not) Know?," CESifo Forum, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 13(02), pages 03-12, July.
    15. Friedrich Schneider & Andreas Buehn & Claudio E. Montenegro, 2011. "Shadow Economies All Over the World: New Estimates for 162 Countries from 1999 to 2007," Chapters, in: Friedrich Schneider (ed.), Handbook on the Shadow Economy, chapter 1, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    16. Schneider, Friedrich G. & Buehn, Andreas, 2009. "Shadow economies and corruption all over the world: revised estimates for 120 countries," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 1, pages 1-53.
    17. Friedrich Schneider, 2005. "Shadow Economies of 145 Countries all over the World: What Do We Really Know?," CREMA Working Paper Series 2005-13, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    18. Friedrich Schneider, 2014. "Outside the State - the Shadow Economy and Shadow Economy Labor Force," CESifo Working Paper Series 4829, CESifo.
    19. Schneider, Friedrich, 2012. "The Shadow Economy and Work in the Shadow: What Do We (Not) Know?," IZA Discussion Papers 6423, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    20. Schneider, Friedrich & Buehn, Andreas, 2012. "Shadow Economies in Highly Developed OECD Countries: What Are the Driving Forces?," IZA Discussion Papers 6891, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    21. Friedrich Schneider, 2003. "The Size and Development of the Shadow Economy around the World and Relation to the Hard-to-Tax," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0324, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    shadow economy estimates; MIMIC approach; methods to estimate the shadow economy; advantages and disadvantages of the measurement methods;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • E26 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Informal Economy; Underground Economy
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • O50 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - General
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4448. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cesifde.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Klaus Wohlrabe (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cesifde.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.