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Fiscal illusion and the shadow economy: Two sides of the same coin?

Author

Listed:
  • Andreas Buehn
  • Roberto Dell'Anno
  • Friedrich Schneider

Abstract

This paper presents an empirical analysis of the relationship between fiscal illusion and the shadow economy for 104 countries over the period 1989–2009. We argue that both unobservable phenomena are closely linked to each other, as the creation of a fiscal illusion may be helpful if governments want to control shadow economic activities. Using a MIMIC model with two latent variables we confirm previous findings on the driving forces of the shadow economy and identify the main determinants and indicators of fiscal. Most importantly, we find that fiscal illusion negatively affects the shadow economy: Concealing the real tax burden through fiscal illusion potentially contributes to the government’s efforts to repress shadow economic activities.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Buehn & Roberto Dell'Anno & Friedrich Schneider, 2013. "Fiscal illusion and the shadow economy: Two sides of the same coin?," Economics working papers 2013-21, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  • Handle: RePEc:jku:econwp:2013_21
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    File URL: http://www.econ.jku.at/papers/2013/wp1321.pdf
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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. Friedrich Schneider & Dominik Enste, 1999. "Shadow Economies Around the World - Size, Causes, and Consequences," CESifo Working Paper Series 196, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Roberto Dell'Anno, 2008. "What is the relationship between Unofficial and Official Economy? An analysis in Latin American Countries," Quaderni DSEMS 23-2008, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche, Matematiche e Statistiche, Universita' di Foggia.
    5. Tanzi, Vito, 1999. "Uses and Abuses of Estimates of the Underground Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages 338-347, June.
    6. Roberto Dell’Anno & Paulo Mourao, 2012. "Fiscal Illusion around the World," Public Finance Review, , vol. 40(2), pages 270-299, March.
    7. Chong, Alberto & Gradstein, Mark, 2007. "Inequality and informality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 159-179, February.
    8. Dollery, Brian E & Worthington, Andrew C, 1996. " The Empirical Analysis of Fiscal Illusion," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(3), pages 261-297, September.
    9. Richard Wagner, 1976. "Revenue structure, fiscal illusion, and budgetary choice," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 45-61, March.
    10. Seater, John J, 1993. "Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(1), pages 142-190, March.
    11. Lars P. Feld & Friedrich Schneider, 2010. "Survey on the Shadow Economy and Undeclared Earnings in OECD Countries," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 11, pages 109-149, May.
    12. James Anderson & David Gerbing, 1984. "The effect of sampling error on convergence, improper solutions, and goodness-of-fit indices for maximum likelihood confirmatory factor analysis," Psychometrika, Springer;The Psychometric Society, vol. 49(2), pages 155-173, June.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. Anne Boomsma, 1985. "Nonconvergence, improper solutions, and starting values in lisrel maximum likelihood estimation," Psychometrika, Springer;The Psychometric Society, vol. 50(2), pages 229-242, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Feige, Edgar L., 2015. "Reflections on the meaning and measurement of Unobserved Economies: What do we really know about the “Shadow Economy”?," MPRA Paper 68466, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fiscal illusion; shadow economy; MIMIC model; latent variables; tax burden; tax complexity;

    JEL classification:

    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • O54 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • N16 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Latin America; Caribbean

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