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Can we rely upon fiscal policy estimates in countries with unreported production of 15 per cent (or more) of GDP?


  • Raffaella Basile
  • Bruno Chiarini
  • Elisabetta Marzano


This paper analyzes the effects of fiscal policy in Italy by employing a database containing two statistical novelties: quarterly fiscal variables on accrual basis and a time series estimate of tax evasion for the period 1981:1-2006:4. Following Revenue Agency suggestions, we use in a VECM the time series of the concealed VAT base as a proxy for the size of “unreported production”, and define a regular GDP measure constructed as GDP net of government expenditure and evaded VAT base. The results reveal that we cannot rely upon the estimates of fiscal policy multipliers in countries with a sizeable unreported production unless the dynamics of the hidden and regular components of the GDP are disentangled. Changes in public spending and the tax rate generate a reallocation from underground to the regular economy which contributes to obscure the spending and tax effect on total GDP. In this setup the spending multiplier shows large long-run effects, considerably stronger than those registered in a model with no attention paid to unreported production. The drop in regular output, after an increase in the effective tax rate, tends to be considerable after one year, producing long-lasting effects and a significant increase in unreported production and tax evasion.

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  • Raffaella Basile & Bruno Chiarini & Elisabetta Marzano, 2012. "Can we rely upon fiscal policy estimates in countries with unreported production of 15 per cent (or more) of GDP?," Working Papers 1, Department of the Treasury, Ministry of the Economy and of Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:itt:wpaper:wp2012-1

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Giovanni Callegari & Giovanni Melina & Nicoletta Batini, 2012. "Successful Austerity in the United States, Europe and Japan," IMF Working Papers 12/190, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Bruno Chiarini & Elisabetta Marzano & Friedrich Schneider, 2013. "Tax rates and tax evasion: an empirical analysis of the long-run aspects in Italy," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 273-293, April.
    3. Raffaella Basile & Bruno Chiarini & Giovanni Luca & Elisabetta Marzano, 2016. "Fiscal multipliers and unreported production: evidence for Italy," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 51(3), pages 877-896, November.
    4. Renzo Orsi & Davide Raggi & Francesco Turino, 2014. "Size, Trend, and Policy Implications of the Underground Economy," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(3), pages 417-436, July.
    5. Silvana Bartoletto & Bruno Chiarini & Elisabetta Marzano, 2013. "Is the Italian Public Debt Really Unsustainable? An Historical Comparison (1861-2010)," CESifo Working Paper Series 4185, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Luigi Marattin & Simone Salotti, 2014. "Consumption multipliers of different types of public spending: a structural vector error correction analysis for the UK," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 46(4), pages 1197-1220, June.

    More about this item


    Fiscal policy; VECM; fiscal multipliers; unreported GDP; tax ratio; effective tax rate.;

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus

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