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Wages, Unemployment, and the Underground Economy

  • Kolm, A.S.
  • Larsen, B.

While examining the macroeconomic effects of increased government control of the informal sector, this paper develops a two-sector general equilibrium model featuring matching frictions and worker-firm wage bargaining. Different goods are produced in the formal sector and the informal sector, and workers search for jobs in both sectors. We analyse the impact of higher punishment rates and a higher audit rate on labor market performance, and we find that a higher punishment rate (i) reduces the size of the informal sector and increases the size of the formal sector, (ii) decreases real producer wages in both sectors, and (iii) reduces the unemployment rate. The effect of a higher audit rate is less clear. We find that a higher audit rate (i) reduces the size of the informal sector relative to the size of the formal sector, and (ii) has an ambiguous impact on unemployment and real wages.

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Paper provided by Uppsala - Working Paper Series in its series Papers with number 2001:08.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:uppaal:2001:08
Phone: + 46 18 471 25 00
Fax: + 46 18 471 14 78
Web page:

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  1. James Albrecht & Susan Vroman, 2000. "A Matching Model with Endogenous Skill Requirements," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0774, Econometric Society.
  2. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1974. "Income tax evasion: A theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 201-202, May.
  3. Jacques, Jean-François & Fugazza, Marco, 2004. "Labor market institutions, taxation and the underground economy," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/1888, Paris Dauphine University.
  4. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher, 1999. "New Developments in Models of Search in the Labour Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 2053, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Slemrod, Joel & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 2002. "Tax avoidance, evasion, and administration," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 22, pages 1423-1470 Elsevier.
  6. Wen-Ya Chang & Ching-Chong Lai, 1996. "The Implication of Efficiency Wages On Tax Evasion and Tax Collections," Public Finance Review, , vol. 24(2), pages 163-172, April.
  7. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1993. "Tax evasion and optimal commodity taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 261-275, February.
  8. 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.
  9. Boeri, Tito & Garibaldi, Pietro, 2002. "Shadow Activity and Unemployment in a Depressed Labour Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 3433, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Namkee Ahn & Sara La De Rica, 1997. "The underground economy in Spain: an alternative to unemployment?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(6), pages 733-743.
  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. Kolm, Ann-Sofie & Larsen, Birthe, 2001. "Moral Costs, The Informal Sector And Unemployment," Working Papers 01-2001, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics.
  13. Ann-Sofie Kolm & Birthe Larsen, 2002. "Social Norm, the Informal Sector, and Unemployment," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 59(3), pages 407-, August.
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