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The Influence of Direct Democracy on the Shadow Economy

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  • Désirée Teobaldelli
  • Friedrich Schneider

Abstract

We analyze, both theoretically and empirically, the influence of direct democratic institutions on the size and development of shadow economies. Our model suggests that, as the extent of direct democracy increases, implemented fiscal policies more nearly reflect the preferences of citizens and so reduce their incentives to operate in the informal sector. This theory implies a negative relationship between the extent of direct democracy and the size of the country’s shadow economy. We also theorize that direct democracy has a greater effect in reducing the informal sector when the former is at low or intermediate values and when the electoral system is characterized by a larger district magnitude. An empirical investigation of a sample of 57 democracies confirms our model’s predictions.

Suggested Citation

  • Désirée Teobaldelli & Friedrich Schneider, 2013. "The Influence of Direct Democracy on the Shadow Economy," Economics working papers 2013-16, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  • Handle: RePEc:jku:econwp:2013_16
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    shadow economy; direct democratic institutions; district magnitude; good governance;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance

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