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Ethnic Divisions and the Size of the Informal Sector

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  • David Dreyer Lassen

    (Economic Policy Research Unit, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

This paper investigates the relationship between ethnic fragmentation and the size of the informal economy. Recent experimental and empirical research links, in turn, ethnicity and trust, and trust and tax compliance. In addition, recent empirical studies have identified an unwillingness to contribute to public goods benefiting other ethnic groups. Combining these insights, we argue that increasing ethnic fractionalization decreases voluntary tax compliance, and present empirical evidence at the macro level in a cross-section of more than fifty countries, that more ethnically fragmented societies have significantly larger informal sectors.

Suggested Citation

  • David Dreyer Lassen, 2003. "Ethnic Divisions and the Size of the Informal Sector," EPRU Working Paper Series 03-01, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:epruwp:03-01
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    File URL: http://www.econ.ku.dk/epru/files/wp/wp-03-01.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    2. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    3. Edward L. Glaeser & David I. Laibson & José A. Scheinkman & Christine L. Soutter, 2000. "Measuring Trust," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 811-846.
      • Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    4. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2000. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 847-904.
    5. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
    6. Morton Deutsch, 1958. "Trust and suspicion," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 2(4), pages 265-279, December.
    7. 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.
    8. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
    9. 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.
    10. Beck, Thorsten & Clarke, George & Groff, Alberto & Keefer, Philip & Walsh, Patrick, 2000. "New tools and new tests in comparative political economy - the database of political institutions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2283, The World Bank.
    11. Fjeldstad, Odd-helge & Semboja, Joseph, 2001. "Why People Pay Taxes: The Case of the Development Levy in Tanzania," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(12), pages 2059-2074, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mwangi S. Kimenyi, 2006. "Ethnicity, Governance and the Provision of Public Goods," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 15(1), pages 62-99, April.
    2. Mladovsky, Philipa & Mossialos, Elias, 2008. "A Conceptual Framework for Community-Based Health Insurance in Low-Income Countries: Social Capital and Economic Development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 590-607, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    informal sector; ethnic fragmentation; voluntary tax compliance;

    JEL classification:

    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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