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Drivers of the Underground Economy around the Millienium: A Long Term Look for the United States

Listed author(s):
  • Goel, Rajeev K.

    ()

    (Illinois State University)

  • Saunoris, James W.

    ()

    (Eastern Michigan University)

  • Schneider, Friedrich

    ()

    (University of Linz)

This paper provides a long term analysis of the determinants of the shadow economy. Using data for the United States over the years 1870–2014 we examine economic and political factors driving the underground sector. Results show that among the economic factors, greater economic prosperity increased the shadow sector, while greater openness to trade and a bigger government reduced it, with the effects of inflation being statistically insignificant. Politically, the efficacy of presidential vetoes and the effect of congressional party homogeneity are statistically insignificant. Further, the U.S. shadow economy increased during both world wars, but was lower during the great depression. However, in the short run, the relationship between the shadow economy and its determinants exhibit some remarkable differences.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 10857.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2017
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10857
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  1. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "The Regulation of Entry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 1-37.
  2. Andreas Buehn & Friedrich Schneider, 2012. "Shadow economies around the world: novel insights, accepted knowledge, and new estimates," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(1), pages 139-171, February.
  3. 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.
  4. Schneider, Friedrich, 2005. "Shadow economies around the world: what do we really know?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 598-642, September.
  5. Schneider Friedrich, 2015. "Schattenwirtschaft und Schattenarbeitsmarkt: Die Entwicklungen der vergangenen 20 Jahre," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 16(1), pages 3-25, March.
  6. Schneider Friedrich, 2010. "The Influence of Public Institutions on the Shadow Economy: An Empirical Investigation for OECD Countries," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(3), pages 441-468, December.
  7. Do, Quy-Toan & Levchenko, Andrei A., 2009. "Trade, inequality, and the political economy of institutions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(4), pages 1489-1520, July.
  8. Giles, David E A, 1999. "Measuring the Hidden Economy: Implications for Econometric Modelling," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages 370-380, June.
  9. Johansen, Soren & Juselius, Katarina, 1990. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation and Inference on Cointegration--With Applications to the Demand for Money," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 52(2), pages 169-210, May.
  10. Friedrich Schneider & Dominik Enste, 1999. "Shadow Economies Around the World - Size, Causes, and Consequences," CESifo Working Paper Series 196, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Busato, Francesco & Chiarini, Bruno & Marchetti, Enrico, 2011. "Indeterminacy, underground activities and tax evasion," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 831-844, May.
  12. Philip Cagan, 1958. "The Demand for Currency Relative to Total Money Supply," NBER Chapters,in: The Demand for Currency Relative to Total Money Supply, pages 1-37 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Schneider, Friedrich, 2012. "The Shadow Economy and Work in the Shadow: What Do We (Not) Know?," IZA Discussion Papers 6423, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Tanzi, Vito, 1999. "Uses and Abuses of Estimates of the Underground Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages 338-347, June.
  15. repec:hrv:faseco:30747190 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. M. Hashem Pesaran & Yongcheol Shin & Richard J. Smith, 2001. "Bounds testing approaches to the analysis of level relationships," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(3), pages 289-326.
  17. Restrepo-Echavarria, Paulina, 2015. "Measuring Underground Economy Can Be Done, but It Is Difficult," The Regional Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan.
  18. Axel Dreher & Christos Kotsogiannis & Steve McCorriston, 2009. "How do institutions affect corruption and the shadow economy?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 16(6), pages 773-796, December.
  19. 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.
  20. James Alm & Abel Embaye, 2013. "Using Dynamic Panel Methods to Estimate Shadow Economies Around the World, 1984-2006," Working Papers 1303, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  21. Reinhard Neck & Jens Wächter & Friedrich Schneider, 2012. "Tax avoidance versus tax evasion: on some determinants of the shadow economy," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(1), pages 104-117, February.
  22. Frey, Bruno S. & Weck-Hanneman, Hannelore, 1984. "The hidden economy as an 'unobserved' variable," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(1-2), pages 33-53.
  23. Friedrich SCHNEIDER, 2016. "Estimating the Size of the Shadow Economy: Methods, Problems and Open Questions," Turkish Economic Review, KSP Journals, vol. 3(2), pages 256-280, June.
  24. Désirée Teobaldelli, 2011. "Federalism and the shadow economy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(3), pages 269-289, March.
  25. Phillip Cagan, 1958. "The Demand for Currency Relative to the Total Money Supply," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 303-303.
  26. Berdiev & Cullen Pasquesi-Hill & Saunoris, 2015. "Exploring the dynamics of the shadow economy across US states," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(56), pages 6136-6147, December.
  27. Engle, Robert & Granger, Clive, 2015. "Co-integration and error correction: Representation, estimation, and testing," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 39(3), pages 106-135.
  28. Kirchler,Erich, 2007. "The Economic Psychology of Tax Behaviour," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521876742, March.
  29. Eilat, Yair & Zinnes, Clifford, 2002. "The Shadow Economy in Transition Countries: Friend or Foe? A Policy Perspective," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(7), pages 1233-1254, July.
  30. Friedrich Schneider & Andreas Buehn & Claudio Montenegro, 2010. "New Estimates for the Shadow Economies all over the World," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(4), pages 443-461.
  31. James Alm & Abel Embaye, 2013. "Using Dynamic Panel Methods to Estimate Shadow Economies Around the World, 1984–2006," Public Finance Review, , vol. 41(5), pages 510-543, September.
  32. Roberto Dell’Anno & Brian Dollery, 2014. "Comparative fiscal illusion: a fiscal illusion index for the European Union," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 46(3), pages 937-960, May.
  33. 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.
  34. MacKinnon, James G, 1996. "Numerical Distribution Functions for Unit Root and Cointegration Tests," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(6), pages 601-618, Nov.-Dec..
  35. Friedrich Schneider & Désirée Teobaldelli, 2012. "Beyond the Veil of Ignorance: The Influence of Direct Democracy on the Shadow Economy," CESifo Working Paper Series 3749, CESifo Group Munich.
  36. 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.
  37. Rajeev Goel & James Saunoris, 2014. "Global corruption and the shadow economy: spatial aspects," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 161(1), pages 119-139, October.
  38. David KUCERA & Leanne RONCOLATO, 2008. "Informal employment: Two contested policy issues," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 147(4), pages 321-348, December.
  39. repec:hrv:faseco:30728045 is not listed on IDEAS
  40. Donal Mac Géidigh & Friedrich Schneider & Matthias Blum, 2016. "Grey Matters: Charting the Development of the Shadow Economy," CESifo Working Paper Series 6234, CESifo Group Munich.
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