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Increasing Shadow Economies all over the World - Fiction or Reality?

  • Enste, Dominik


    (Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln (IW))

  • Schneider, Friedrich


    (University of Linz)

Using various methods (currency demand, physical input (electricity) measure, model approach), which are discussed and criticized, estimates about the size of 67 developing, transition and OECD countries are presented. The average size of the shadow economy (in % of GDP) over 1989-93 in developing countries is 39.2%, in transition countries 23.2% and in OECD countries 14.2%. An increasing burden of taxation and social security contributions combined with rising state regulatory activities are the driving forces for the size of the shadow economy. According to some findings, a growing shadow economy has a negative impact on official GDP growth, however, a positive impact of corruption on the size of the shadow economy can be found, i.e. the bigger the corruption, the larger is the shadow economy.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 26.

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Length: 68 pages
Date of creation: Dec 1998
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Economic Literature, 2000, 38 (1), 77-114
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp26
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  1. Vito Tanzi, 1998. "Corruption Around the World: Causes, Consequences, Scope, and Cures," IMF Working Papers 98/63, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Edgar L. Feige, 2005. "A Re-Examination of the 'Underground Economy' in the United States; A Comment on Tanzi," Macroeconomics 0501021, EconWPA.
  3. Clotfelter, Charles T, 1983. "Tax Evasion and Tax Rates: An Analysis of Individual Returns," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(3), pages 363-73, August.
  4. Marie Christine Adam & Victor Ginsburgh, 1985. "The effects of irregular markets on macroeconomic policy: some estimates for Belgium," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/1757, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  5. Paul M. Romer, 1993. "New Goods, Old Theory, and the Welfare Costs of Trade Restrictions," NBER Working Papers 4452, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Petersen, Hans-Georg, 1982. "Size of the Public Sector, Economic Growth and the Informal Economy: Development Trends in the Federal Republic of Germany," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 28(2), pages 191-215, June.
  7. Pranab Bardhan, 1997. "Corruption and Development: A Review of Issues," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1320-1346, September.
  8. Friedrich Schneider & Christopher Bajada, 2003. "The Size and Development of the Shadow Economies in the Asia-Pacific," Economics working papers 2003-01, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  9. 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.
  10. Feige, Edgar L, 1994. "The Underground Economy and the Currency Enigma," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 49(Supplemen), pages 119-36.
  11. Bagachwa, M. S. D. & Naho, A., 1995. "Estimating the second economy in Tanzania," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(8), pages 1387-1399, August.
  12. Edgar L. Feige, 2005. "Overseas Holdings Of U.S.Currency And The Underground Economy," Macroeconomics 0501022, EconWPA.
  13. Edgar L. Feige, 2004. "How Big IS the Irregular Economy?," Macroeconomics 0404005, EconWPA.
  14. Frey, Bruno S & Pommerehne, Werner W, 1984. "The Hidden Economy: State and Prospects for Measurement," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 30(1), pages 1-23, March.
  15. Ben-Zion Zilberfarb, 1986. "Estimates of the Underground Economy in the United States, 1930-80: A Comment on Tanzi," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 33(4), pages 790-798, December.
  16. repec:oup:qjecon:v:110:y:1995:i:3:p:681-712 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Lemieux, Thomas & Fortin, Bernard & Frechette, Pierre, 1994. "The Effect of Taxes on Labor Supply in the Underground Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 231-54, March.
  18. 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.
  19. Frey, Bruno S & Weck, Hannelore, 1983. "Estimating the Shadow Economy: A 'Naive' Approach," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(1), pages 23-44, March.
  20. Isachsen, Arne Jon & Strom, Steinar, 1980. " The Hidden Economy: The Labor Market and Tax Evasion," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 82(2), pages 304-11.
  21. J. J. Thomas, 1986. "The Underground Economy in the United States: A Comment on Tanzi," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 33(4), pages 782-789, December.
  22. Isachsen, Arne Jon & Strom, Steiner, 1985. "The Size and Growth of the Hidden Economy in Norway," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 31(1), pages 21-38, March.
  23. Feige, Edgar L., 1997. "Revised estimates of the Underground Economy: Implications of US Currency held abroad," MPRA Paper 13805, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  24. Schneider, Friedrich, 1986. " Estimating the Size of the Danish Shadow Economy Using the Currency Demand Approach: An Attempt," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(4), pages 643-68.
  25. Contini, Bruno B, 1981. "Labor Market Segmentation and the Development of the Parallel Economy-The Italian Experience," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(3), pages 401-12, November.
  26. Helberger, Christof & Knepel, Helmut, 1988. "How big is the shadow economy? : A re-analysis of the unobserved-variable approach of B.S. Frey and H. Weck-Hannemann," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 965-976, April.
  27. Joel F. Houston, 1987. "Estimating the size and implications of the underground economy," Working Papers 87-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
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