IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Tax rates, governance, and the informal economy in high-income countries

  • Zoe Kuehn

    ()

Registered author(s):

    This paper studies the mechanisms behind the informal economy in high-income countries. About 16.3% of output in high-income OECD countries was produced informally in 2001-02. In a recent paper Davis and Henrekson [2004] show that there exists a positive relationship between tax rates and the informal economy for high-income OECD countries. Existing models of the informal economy mostly focus on developing countries. To account for the informal economy in high-income countries, build a model economy, following Lucas [1978], in which agents of different managerial abilities decide to become workers, managers of informal firms, or managers of formal firms. In contrast to formal managers, managers of informal firms do not pay taxes but run the risk of getting caught, taxed, and fined. A calibrated version of the model economy is able to generate the observed differences in informal economy of 21 high-income countries. Although tax rates are crucial for explaining the observed differences in informal economy, the quality of governance, the extent to which these tax rates are enforced, also plays an important role. Policy experiments show that by improving the enforcement of their tax policies countries can reduce informality. A smaller informal economy is accompanied by larger firms and higher productivity.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://e-archivo.uc3m.es/bitstream/10016/1151/1/we078551.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía in its series Economics Working Papers with number we078551.

    as
    in new window

    Length:
    Date of creation: Dec 2007
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:cte:werepe:we078551
    Contact details of provider: Postal: C./ Madrid, 126, 28903 Getafe (Madrid)
    Phone: +34-91 6249594
    Fax: +34-91 6249329
    Web page: http://www.eco.uc3m.es
    Email:


    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. 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.
    2. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-De-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "The Regulation Of Entry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(1), pages 1-37, February.
    3. Kumar, Krishna B & Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1999. "What Determines Firm Size?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2211, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Olivier P. Benon & Katherine Baer & Juan Toro R., 2002. "Improving Large Taxpayers' Compliance; A Review of Country Experience," IMF Occasional Papers 215, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Diego Restuccia & Richard Rogerson, 2008. "Policy Distortions and Aggregate Productivity with Heterogeneous Plants," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(4), pages 707-720, October.
    6. Douglas Gollin, 2001. "Getting Income Shares Right," Department of Economics Working Papers 2001-11, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    7. Johnson, Simon & Kaufmann, Daniel & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1998. "Regulatory Discretion and the Unofficial Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 387-92, May.
    8. Prado, Jr., Jose Mauricio, 2007. "Government Policy in the Formal and Informal Sectors," Seminar Papers 751, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
    9. Francesco Busato & Bruno Chiarini, 2004. "Market and underground activities in a two-sector dynamic equilibrium model," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 23(4), pages 831-861, May.
    10. Davis, Steven J. & Henrekson, Magnus, 2004. "Tax Effects on Work Activity, Industry Mix and Shadow Economy Size: Evidence from Rich-Country Comparisons," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 560, Stockholm School of Economics.
    11. Loayza, Norman A., 1997. "The economics of the informal sector : a simple model and some empirical evidence from Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1727, The World Bank.
    12. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 1978. "On the Size Distribution of Business Firms," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 508-523, Autumn.
    13. Harris, John R & Todaro, Michael P, 1970. "Migration, Unemployment & Development: A Two-Sector Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(1), pages 126-42, March.
    14. Amaral, Pedro S. & Quintin, Erwan, 2006. "A competitive model of the informal sector," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1541-1553, October.
    15. 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.
    16. Edward C. Prescott, 1986. "Theory ahead of business cycle measurement," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 9-22.
    17. Nezih Guner & Gustavo Ventura & Xu Yi, 2008. "Macroeconomic Implications of Size-Dependent Policies," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(4), pages 721-744, October.
    18. Maloney, William F, 1999. "Does Informality Imply Segmentation in Urban Labor Markets? Evidence from Sectoral Transitions in Mexico," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(2), pages 275-302, May.
    19. Schneider, Friedrich, 2002. "The Size and Development of the Shadow Economies of 22 Transition and 21 OECD Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 514, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. Antunes, Antonio R. & Cavalcanti, Tiago V. de V., 2007. "Start up costs, limited enforcement, and the hidden economy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 203-224, January.
    21. Luc Laeven & Christopher Woodruff, 2007. "The Quality of the Legal System, Firm Ownership, and Firm Size," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(4), pages 601-614, November.
    22. Pierre-Daniel G. Sarte, 1999. "Informality and rent-seeking bureaucracies in a model of long-run growth," Working Paper 99-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
    23. Chong, Alberto & Gradstein, Mark, 2006. "Inequality and Informality," CEPR Discussion Papers 5545, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    24. Fortin, Bernard & Marceau, Nicolas & Savard, Luc, 1997. "Taxation, wage controls and the informal sector," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 293-312, November.
    25. Rauch, James E., 1991. "Modelling the informal sector formally," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 33-47, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cte:werepe:we078551. 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: ()

    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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.