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Underreporting and Minimum Wage

  • Aljoša Feldina
  • Sašo Polanec

We propose a theory of firm that is consistent with empirically observed phenomenon of firms simultaneously engaging in both formal and informal activities. Firms face endogenous probability of auditing that depends on the scale of underreporting of both sales and wages. We characterize the conditions for a firm facing corporate, value added and payroll taxes to hide a part of its activities. Underreporting gives rise to employment levels above those expected for firms that report truthfully. We also show that an underreporting firm is less affected by the introduction of the minimum wage. It further decreases the level of reported sales to mitigate the adverse effect that the minimum wage causes and decreases optimal employment by relatively less than an honest firm. The latter hypotheses is tested empirically using a matched employer-employee data set for Slovenia during the period of several minimum wage hikes (2007-2010).

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File URL: http://feb.kuleuven.be/drc/licos/publications/dp/dp324
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Paper provided by LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven in its series LICOS Discussion Papers with number 32412.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:lic:licosd:32412
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  1. Ihrig, Jane & Moe, Karine S., 2004. "Lurking in the shadows: the informal sector and government policy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 541-557, April.
  2. Prado, Jr., Jose Mauricio, 2007. "Government Policy in the Formal and Informal Sectors," Seminar Papers 751, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  3. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
  4. Dabla-Norris, Era & Gradstein, Mark & Inchauste, Gabriela, 2008. "What causes firms to hide output? The determinants of informality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1-2), pages 1-27, February.
  5. James Tybout, 1999. "Manufacturing Firms in Developing Countries: How Well Do They Do, and Why?," Development and Comp Systems 9906001, EconWPA, revised 10 Jun 1999.
  6. Danziger, Leif, 2010. "Endogenous monopsony and the perverse effect of the minimum wage in small firms," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 224-229, January.
  7. Aureo de Paula & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2009. "Value Added Taxes, Chain Effects and Informality," PIER Working Paper Archive 09-030, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  8. Albrecht, James & Navarro, Lucas & Vroman, Susan, 2006. "The Effects of Labor Market Policies in an Economy with an Informal Sector," IZA Discussion Papers 2141, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Wojciech Kopczuk & Joel Slemrod, 2006. "Putting Firms into Optimal Tax Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 130-134, May.
  10. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  11. Joel Slemrod, 2007. "Cheating Ourselves: The Economics of Tax Evasion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 25-48, Winter.
  12. Rauch, James E., 1991. "Modelling the informal sector formally," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 33-47, January.
  13. Elek, Peter & Köllő, János & Reizer, Balázs & Szabó, Péter A., 2011. "Detecting Wage Under-reporting Using a Double Hurdle Model," IZA Discussion Papers 6224, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Fugazza, Marco & Jacques, Jean-Francois, 2004. "Labor market institutions, taxation and the underground economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1-2), pages 395-418, January.
  15. Hideaki Goto & Yukichi Mano, 2012. "Labor market competitiveness and the size of the informal sector," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 495-509, January.
  16. Bigio, Saki & Zilberman, Eduardo, 2011. "Optimal self-employment income tax enforcement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9), pages 1021-1035.
  17. Fortin, Bernard & Marceau, Nicolas & Savard, Luc, 1997. "Taxation, wage controls and the informal sector," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 293-312, November.
  18. Luiz de Mello, 2009. "Avoiding the Value Added Tax," Public Finance Review, , vol. 37(1), pages 27-46, January.
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