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On the Boundaries of the Shadow Economy: An Empirical Investigation

Listed author(s):
  • Manes, Eran

    (Jerusalem College of Technology (JTC))

  • Schneider, Friedrich

    ()

    (University of Linz)

  • Tchetchik, Anat

    ()

    (Ben Gurion University)

A large number of empirical studies pointed to the ongoing expansion of the shadow economy in many countries around the globe. A robust finding in these studies is the positive association between unemployment rates and the size of the unofficial sector. However, with consistent estimates of the size of the unofficial sector only available from the late 1980s, a lack of sufficient time span dictated the use of static models, allowing only a limited understanding of its temporal behavior and interdependence with other covariates. In this paper, we offer a first systematic attempt to estimate the dynamics of the shadow economy, using advanced dynamic panel techniques. Based on insights from a simple job search model of unemployment that features decreasing returns to unofficial activities and congestion effects in job searching, we conjecture a long-run equilibrium relationship between unemployment and the size of the shadow economy. Our empirical model lends strong support to this view. We find that in countries with less stringent job market regulation the long-run impact of Unemployment, the tax burden, and GDP on the shadow economy, while positive and significant, is much smaller than in heavily regulated countries Moreover, the speed of adjustment back to long-run equilibrium following temporary shocks is shown to be three times faster in countries with looser job-market regulation, compared with countries with stricter regulation. These findings have important policy implications.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 10067.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2016
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10067
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  11. Torgler, Benno & Schneider, Friedrich, 2009. "The impact of tax morale and institutional quality on the shadow economy," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 228-245, April.
  12. Carmen Pagés-Serra & James J. Heckman, 2000. "The Cost of Job Security Regulation: Evidence from Latin American Labor Markets," Research Department Publications 4227, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  13. Hatanaka, Michio, 1996. "Time-Series-Based Econometrics: Unit Roots and Co-integrations," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198773535.
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  17. Tsangyao Chang & Kuei-Chiu Lee & Chien-Chung Nieh & Ching-Chun Wei, 2005. "An empirical note on testing hysteresis in unemployment for ten European countries: panel SURADF approach," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(14), pages 881-886.
  18. Song, Frank M & Wu, Yangru, 1997. "Hysteresis in Unemployment: Evidence from 48 U.S. States," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(2), pages 235-243, April.
  19. Dominik Enste, 2010. "Regulation and shadow economy: empirical evidence for 25 OECD-countries," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 231-248, September.
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  22. Schneider, Friedrich & Buehn, Andreas, 2012. "Shadow Economies in Highly Developed OECD Countries: What Are the Driving Forces?," IZA Discussion Papers 6891, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  23. Shlomo Yitzhaki, 1987. "On the Excess Burden of Tax Evasion," Public Finance Review, , vol. 15(2), pages 123-137, April.
  24. Camarero, Mariam & Tamarit, Cecilio, 2004. "Hysteresis vs. natural rate of unemployment: new evidence for OECD countries," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 84(3), pages 413-417, September.
  25. Dimitris K. Christopoulos, 2007. "Unemployment hysteresis in EU countries: what do we really know about it?," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 34(2), pages 80-89, May.
  26. Banerjee, Anindya, 1999. " Panel Data Unit Roots and Cointegration: An Overview," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 61(0), pages 607-629, Special I.
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  31. repec:taf:applec:45:y:2013:i:18:p:2567-2578 is not listed on IDEAS
  32. Christopher Bajada & Friedrich Schneider, 2009. "Unemployment and the Shadow Economy in the oecd," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 60(5), pages 1033-1067.
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