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An Analysis of the Underground Economy and its Macroeconomic Consequences

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  • Era Dabla-Norris
  • Andrew Feltenstein

Abstract

This paper develops a dynamic computable general equilibrium model in which optimizing agents evade taxes by operating in the underground economy. The cost to firms of evading taxes is that they find themselves subject to credit rationing from banks. Our model simulations show that in the absence of budgetary flexibility to adjust expenditures, raising tax rates too high drives firms into the underground economy, thereby reducing the tax base. Aggregate investment in the economy is lowered because of credit rationing. Taxes that are too low eliminate the underground economy, but result in unsustainable budget and trade deficits. Thus, the optimal rate of taxation, from a macroeconomic point of view, may lead to some underground activity.

Suggested Citation

  • Era Dabla-Norris & Andrew Feltenstein, 2003. "An Analysis of the Underground Economy and its Macroeconomic Consequences," IMF Working Papers 03/23, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:03/23
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    File URL: http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/cat/longres.aspx?sk=16274
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Simon Johnson & Daniel Kaufman & Andrei Shleifer, 1997. "The Unofficial Economy in Transition," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(2), pages 159-240.
    3. Ball, Sheryl & Feltenstein, Andrew, 2001. "Bank failures and fiscal austerity: policy prescriptions for a developing country," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 247-270, November.
    4. Mehnaz Ahmed & Qazi Masood Ahmed, 1995. "Estimation of the Black Economy of Pakistan through the Monetary Approach," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 34(4), pages 791-807.
    5. Burgess, Robin & Stern, Nicholas, 1993. "Taxation and Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 762-830, June.
    6. Blejer, Mario I. & Feldman, Ernesto V. & Feltenstein, Andrew, 2002. "Exogenous shocks, contagion, and bank soundness: a macroeconomic framework," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 33-52, February.
    7. 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.
    8. Feltenstein, Andrew & Shah, Anwar, 1993. "General Equilibrium Effects of Taxation on Investment in a Developing Country: The Case of Pakistan," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 48(3), pages 366-386.
    9. repec:hrv:faseco:30728045 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-491, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. M. Ali Kemal, 2007. "A Fresh Assessment of the Underground Economy and Tax Evasion in Pakistan : Causes, Consequences, and Linkages with the Formal Economy," Microeconomics Working Papers 22200, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    2. Vesa Kanniainen & Jenni Pääkkönen, 2004. "Anonymous Money, Moral Sentiments and Welfare," CESifo Working Paper Series 1258, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. repec:ksp:journ3:v:4:y:2017:i:2:p:187-211 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Salahodjaev, Raufhon, 2015. "Intelligence and Shadow Economy: a Cross-Country Empirical Assessment," MPRA Paper 61976, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Consumption; Tax evasion; Underground economy; credit rationing; tax rate; budget deficit; rate of return; tax rates; Computable General Equilibrium Models;

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