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Shadow Economies in highly developed OECD countries: What are the driving forces?

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  • Andreas Buehn
  • Friedrich Schneider

Abstract

The main focus of this paper lies on the “driving forces” of the development and size of the shadow economy in 39 highly developed OECD countries. The most influential factors on the shadow economy are tax policies and state regulation, which, if rising, increase the shadow economy, though other, economic factors like unemployment are important, too. Specifically, it is shown that the main driving forces of the size and development of the shadow economy are unemployment, self-employment and the tax burden, which impact the shadow economies in these 30 OECD countries to a different degree. Between 1999 and 2010 unemployment and self-employment have on average the largest relative impact (14.6%), followed by tax morale (14.5%), GDP growth (14.3%), business freedom (14.2%) and indirect taxes (14.1%).

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Buehn & Friedrich Schneider, 2013. "Shadow Economies in highly developed OECD countries: What are the driving forces?," Economics working papers 2013-17, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  • Handle: RePEc:jku:econwp:2013_17
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Colin Williams & Jan Windebank, 2001. "Reconceptualising Paid Informal Exchange: Some Lessons from English Cities," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 33(1), pages 121-140, January.
    5. 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.
    6. Friedrich Schneider & Dominik Enste, 1999. "Shadow Economies Around the World - Size, Causes, and Consequences," CESifo Working Paper Series 196, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Andreas Buehn, 2012. "The Shadow Economy in G erman Regions: An Empirical Assessment," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 13(3), pages 275-290, August.
    8. Bhattacharyya, Dilip K, 1999. "On the Economic Rationale of Estimating the Hidden Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages 348-359, June.
    9. Tanzi, Vito, 1999. "Uses and Abuses of Estimates of the Underground Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages 338-347, June.
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    12. 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.
    13. Egle Tafenau & Helmut Herwartz & Friedrich Schneider, 2010. "Regional Estimates of the Shadow Economy in Europe," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(4), pages 629-636.
    14. Thomas, Jim, 1999. "Quantifying the Black Economy: 'Measurement without Theory' Yet Again?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages 381-389, June.
    15. Roberto Dell´Anno, 2007. "The shadow economy in Portugal: An analysis with the MIMIC approach," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 10, pages 253-277, November.
    16. Désirée Teobaldelli, 2011. "Federalism and the shadow economy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(3), pages 269-289, March.
    17. Kirchler,Erich, 2007. "The Economic Psychology of Tax Behaviour," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521876742, May.
    18. Andreas Buehn & Stefan Eichler, 2009. "Smuggling Illegal versus Legal Goods across the U.S.-Mexico Border: A Structural Equations Model Approach," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 328-350, October.
    19. 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.
    20. 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.
    21. 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.
    22. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alexandru Theodoru DRONCA, 2016. "The influence of fiscal freedom, government effectiveness and human development index on tax evasion in the European Union," Theoretical and Applied Economics, Asociatia Generala a Economistilor din Romania - AGER, vol. 0(4(609), W), pages 5-18, Winter.
    2. Petroulakis, Filippos, 2017. "Internal devaluation in currency unions: the role of trade costs and taxes," Working Paper Series 2049, European Central Bank.
    3. Jamie Bologna & Amanda Ross, 2015. "Corruption and entrepreneurship: evidence from Brazilian municipalities," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 165(1), pages 59-77, October.
    4. 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.
    5. Manes, Eran & Schneider, Friedrich & Tchetchik, Anat, 2016. "On the Boundaries of the Shadow Economy: An Empirical Investigation," IZA Discussion Papers 10067, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Alexandru Theodoru DRONCA, 2016. "The influence of fiscal freedom, government effectiveness and human development index on tax evasion in the European Union," Theoretical and Applied Economics, Asociatia Generala a Economistilor din Romania - AGER, vol. 0(4(609), W), pages 5-18, Winter.
    7. Schneider, Friedrich, 2014. "The Shadow Economy and Shadow Labor Force: A Survey of Recent Developments," IZA Discussion Papers 8278, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Colombo, Emilio & Onnis, Luisanna & Tirelli, Patrizio, 2016. "Shadow economies at times of banking crises: Empirics and theory," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 180-190.
    9. Andreas Kyriacou & Leonel Muinelo-Gallo & Oriol Roca-Sagalés, 2015. "Construction corrupts: empirical evidence from a panel of 42 countries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 165(1), pages 123-145, October.
    10. repec:spr:eurase:v:7:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s40822-017-0072-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Ioannidis, Yiorgos, 2015. "The political economy of the distributional character of the Greek taxation system (1995–2008)," MPRA Paper 64033, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Dagmara Nikulin, 2016. "How To Define And Measure Informal Employment In Developed Countries? A Case Of Poland," GUT FME Working Paper Series A 35, Faculty of Management and Economics, Gdansk University of Technology.
    13. Andreas BUEHN & Friedrich SCHNEIDER, 2016. "Size and Development of Tax Evasion in 38 OECD Coutries: What do we (not) know?," Journal of Economics and Political Economy, KSP Journals, vol. 3(1), pages 1-11, March.
    14. Ciprian ROTARU & Raluca GEORGESCU & Dumitru-Alexandru BODISLAV, 2017. "The evolution of corruption and its current state – A case study on Romania," Theoretical and Applied Economics, Asociatia Generala a Economistilor din Romania - AGER, vol. 0(1(610), S), pages 99-108, Spring.
    15. Pappa, Evi & Sajedi, Rana & Vella, Eugenia, 2015. "Fiscal consolidation with tax evasion and corruption," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(S1), pages 56-75.
    16. Friedrich Schneider, 2013. "Size and Progression of the Shadow Economies of Turkey and Other OECD Countries from 2003 to 2013; Some New Facts," Ekonomi-tek - International Economics Journal, Turkish Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 83-116, May.
    17. Ciprian ROTARU & Raluca GEORGESCU & Dumitru-Alexandru BODISLAV, 2017. "The evolution of corruption and its current state – A case study on Romania," Theoretical and Applied Economics, Asociatia Generala a Economistilor din Romania - AGER, vol. 0(1(610), S), pages 99-108, Spring.
    18. Ferré Carracedo, Montserrat & García Fortuny, Judit & Manzano, Carolina, 2013. "The Conservativeness of the Central Bank when Institutional Quality is Poor," Working Papers 2072/222198, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Shadow economy; tax morale; tax pressure; state regulation; undeclared work;

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation

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