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Tax Evasion, Minimum Wage Non-Compliance and Informality

  • Basu, Arnab K.

    ()

    (Cornell University)

  • Chau, Nancy

    ()

    (Cornell University)

  • Siddique, Zahra

    ()

    (University of Reading)

We study the impact of tax and minimum wage reforms on the incidence of informality. To gauge the incidence of informality, we use measures of the extent of tax evasion, the extent of minimum wage non-compliance, and the size of the informal workforce. Our approach allows us to examine (i) the distinction between determinants of firm-level reported wage distribution and actual wage distribution, (ii) the complementarity of tax and minimum wage enforcement, (iii) the impact that a minimum wage reform has on tax and minimum wage compliance, and (iv) the impact that a tax policy reform has on tax and minimum wage compliance. We conclude with the design of optimal minimum wage and tax policies (even in the complete absence of minimum wage enforcement). We do so based on two objectives derived from popular concerns associated with an unchecked expansion of informality: tax revenue maximization, and poverty alleviation among workers.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6228.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Research in Labor Economics, 2012, 34, 1-53
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6228
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  1. Alberto Chong & Jose Galdo & Jaime Saavedra, 2008. "Informality and productivity in the labor market in Peru," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 11(4), pages 229-245.
  2. Basu, Arnab K & Chau, Nancy H & Kanbur, Ravi, 2005. "Turning a Blind Eye: Costly Enforcement, Credible Commitment and Minimum Wage Laws," CEPR Discussion Papers 5107, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Erik Jonasson, 2012. "Government Effectiveness and Regional Variation in Informal Employment," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(4), pages 481-497, June.
  4. Strobl, Eric & Walsh, Frank, 2003. "Minimum Wages and Compliance: The Case of Trinidad and Tobago," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(2), pages 427-50, January.
  5. Fields, Gary S., 1975. "Rural-urban migration, urban unemployment and underemployment, and job-search activity in LDCs," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 165-187, June.
  6. Maloney, William F. & Nunez, Jairo & Cunningham, Wendy & Fiess, Norbert & Montenegro, Claudio & Murrugarra, Edmundo & Santamaria,Mauricio & Sepulveda, Claudia, 2001. "Measuring the impact of minimum wages : evidence from Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2597, The World Bank.
  7. James Heckman & Carmen Pages, 2003. "Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean," NBER Working Papers 10129, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Mirco Tonin, 2007. "Minimum Wage and Tax Evasion: Theory and Evidence," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp865, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  9. Jaime Saavedra & Alberto Chong, 1999. "Structural reform, institutions and earnings: Evidence from the formal and informal sectors in urban Peru," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(4), pages 95-116.
  10. �ureo de Paula & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2010. "Value-Added Taxes, Chain Effects, and Informality," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 195-221, October.
  11. Basu, Arnab K & Chau, Nancy H & Kanbur, Ravi, 2011. "Contractual Dualism, Market Power and Informality," CEPR Discussion Papers 8485, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. James Albrecht & Lucas Navarro & Susan Vroman, 2009. "The Effects of Labour Market Policies in an Economy with an Informal Sector," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(539), pages 1105-1129, 07.
  13. Almeida, Rita K. & Carneiro, Pedro, 2011. "Enforcement of Labor Regulation and Informality," IZA Discussion Papers 5902, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Gindling, T.H. & Terrell, Katherine, 2010. "Minimum Wages, Globalization, and Poverty in Honduras," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 908-918, June.
  15. Lemos, Sara, 2004. "The Effects of the Minimum Wage in the Formal and Informal Sectors in Brazil," IZA Discussion Papers 1089, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Straub, Stéphane, 2005. "Informal sector: The credit market channel," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 299-321, December.
  17. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1974. "Income tax evasion: A theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 201-202, May.
  18. Jacques, Jean-François & Fugazza, Marco, 2004. "Labor market institutions, taxation and the underground economy," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/1888, Paris Dauphine University.
  19. Frank A. Cowell, 1990. "Cheating the Government: The Economics of Evasion," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262532484, June.
  20. James J. Heckman & Carmen Pagés, 2004. "Introduction to "Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin American and the Caribbean"," NBER Chapters, in: Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean, pages 1-108 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Gindling, T. H. & Terrell, Katherine, 1995. "The nature of minimum wages and their effectiveness as a wage floor in Costa Rica, 1976-1991," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(8), pages 1439-1458, August.
  22. Gabrieli, T. & Galvao Jr, A. F. & Montes-Rojas, G., 2010. "Who benefits from reducing the cost of formality? Quantile regression discontinuity analysis," Working Papers 10/07, Department of Economics, City University London.
  23. Sara Lemos, 2006. "Minimum Wage Effects in a Developing Country," Discussion Papers in Economics 06/1, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
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