IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hhs/iiessp/0751.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Government Policy in the Formal and Informal Sectors

Author

Listed:

Abstract

The paper quantitatively investigates, in general equilibrium, the interaction between the firms' choice to operate in the formal or the informal sector and government policy on taxation and enforcement, given a level of regulation. A static version of Ghironi and Melitz’s (2005) industry model is used to show that firms with lower productivity endogenously choose to operate in the informal sector. I use cross-country data on taxes, measures of informality, and measures of regulation (entry and compliance costs, red tape, etc) to back out how high the enforcement levels must be country by country to make the theory match the data. Welfare gains from policy reforms can be fairly large. I find also that welfare gains from reducing regulation are almost twice those computed for the policy reform. Finally, distortions associated with informality account for a factor of 1.5 of the output per capita difference between the richest and the poorest countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Prado, Jr., Jose Mauricio, 2007. "Government Policy in the Formal and Informal Sectors," Seminar Papers 751, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:iiessp:0751
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://su.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:197101/FULLTEXT01
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. James R. Tybout, 2000. "Manufacturing Firms in Developing Countries: How Well Do They Do, and Why?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 11-44, March.
    2. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "The Regulation of Entry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 117(1), pages 1-37.
    3. 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.
    4. Sarte, Pierre-Daniel G., 2000. "Informality and rent-seeking bureaucracies in a model of long-run growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 173-197, August.
    5. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2003. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1268-1290, September.
    6. Abhijit V. Banerjee, 1997. "A Theory of Misgovernance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 112(4), pages 1289-1332.
    7. Fabio Ghironi & Marc J. Melitz, 2005. "International Trade and Macroeconomic Dynamics with Heterogeneous Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 120(3), pages 865-915.
    8. Friedrich Schneider & Dominik Enste, 1999. "Shadow Economies Around the World - Size, Causes, and Consequences," CESifo Working Paper Series 196, CESifo.
    9. Aureo de Paula & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2006. "The Informal Sector," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001030, UCLA Department of Economics.
    10. James Andreoni & Brian Erard & Jonathan Feinstein, 1998. "Tax Compliance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 818-860, June.
    11. Gordon, Roger & Li, Wei, 2009. "Tax structures in developing countries: Many puzzles and a possible explanation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 855-866, August.
    12. Yoshiaki Azuma & Herschel I. Grossman, 2008. "A Theory Of The Informal Sector," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(1), pages 62-79, March.
    13. 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 (2007-2020), Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel), vol. 1, pages 1-53.
    14. Steven Shavell & A. Mitchell Polinsky, 2000. "The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 45-76, March.
    15. 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 (2007-2020), Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel), vol. 1, pages 1-66.
    16. Friedrich Schneider & Friedrich Schneider, 2008. "Shadow Economies and Corruption all over the World: What do we Really Know?," Chapters, in: Michael Pickhardt & Edward Shinnick (ed.), The Shadow Economy, Corruption and Governance, chapter 7, pages 122-187, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    17. World Bank, 2006. "World Development Indicators 2006," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 8151, December.
    18. Niepelt, Dirk, 2005. "Timing tax evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(9-10), pages 1611-1637, September.
    19. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    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. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
    22. Áureo de Paula & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2010. "Value-Added Taxes, Chain Effects, and Informality," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 195-221, October.
    23. repec:rus:hseeco:122439 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. 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.
    25. Loayza, Norman V., 1996. "The economics of the informal sector: a simple model and some empirical evidence from Latin America," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 129-162, December.
    26. R. Hirschowitz, 1989. "The Other Path: The Invisible Revolution in the Third World1," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 57(4), pages 266-272, December.
    27. Rauch, James E., 1991. "Modelling the informal sector formally," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 33-47, January.
    28. 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.
    29. 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.
    30. 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.
    31. 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.
    32. Hopenhayn, Hugo A, 1992. "Entry, Exit, and Firm Dynamics in Long Run Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1127-1150, September.
    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. Zoë Kuehn, 2014. "Tax Rates, Governance, And The Informal Economy In High-Income Countries," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(1), pages 405-430, January.
    2. Rafael La Porta & Andrei Shleifer, 2008. "The Unofficial Economy and Economic Development," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 39(2 (Fall)), pages 275-363.
    3. Russo Francesco Flaviano, 2018. "Informality: the Doorstep of the Legal System," Open Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 49-70, June.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Axel Dreher & Pierre-Guillaume Méon & Friedrich Schneider, 2014. "The devil is in the shadow. Do institutions affect income and productivity or only official income and official productivity?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 158(1), pages 121-141, January.
    7. Dabla-Norris, Era & Gradstein, Mark & Inchauste, Gabriela, 2008. "What causes firms to hide output? The determinants of informality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1-2), pages 1-27, February.
    8. John Bennett, 2010. "Informal firms in developing countries: entrepreneurial stepping stone or consolation prize?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 53-63, January.
    9. D'Erasmo, Pablo N. & Moscoso Boedo, Hernan J., 2012. "Financial structure, informality and development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 286-302.
    10. 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.
    11. Feige, Edgar L., 2015. "Reflections on the meaning and measurement of Unobserved Economies: What do we really know about the “Shadow Economy”?," MPRA Paper 68466, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Bennett, John, 2008. "Formality, Informality, and Social Welfare," IZA Discussion Papers 3550, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. Lopez-Martin, Bernabe, 2019. "Informal Sector Misallocation," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(8), pages 3065-3098, December.
    14. Maiti, Dibyendu & Bhattacharyya, Chandril, 2020. "Informality, enforcement and growth," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 259-274.
    15. Áureo de Paula & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2010. "Value-Added Taxes, Chain Effects, and Informality," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 195-221, October.
    16. Andreas Buehn & Alexander Karmann, 2011. "The Shadow Economy and Do-it-Yourself Activities: What Do We Know?," Chapters, in: Friedrich Schneider (ed.), Handbook on the Shadow Economy, chapter 7, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    17. Maxim Bouev, 2005. "State Regulations, Job Search and Wage Bargaining: A Study in the Economics of the Informal Sector," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp764, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    18. Nicoletta Batini & Young-Bae Kim & Paul Levine & Emanuela Lotti, 2009. "Informal Labour and Credit Markets: A Survey," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0609, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
    19. Erwan Quintin, 2008. "Contract enforcement and the size of the informal economy," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 37(3), pages 395-416, December.
    20. Sangeeta Pratap & Erwan Quintin, 2006. "The Informal Sector in Developing Countries: Output, Assets and Employment," WIDER Working Paper Series RP2006-130, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Informal economy; General equilibrium; Regulation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    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:hhs:iiessp:0751. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    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: Hanna Christiansson (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/iiesuse.html .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.