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The size of the underground economy in Germany: A correction of the record and new evidence from the Modified-Cash-Deposit-Ratio approach

  • Michael Pickhardt
  • Jordi Sarda

Based on the Ahumada et al. (2007, Review of Income and Wealth) critique we revise existing estimates of the size of the German underground economy. Among other things, it turns out that most of these estimates are untenable and that the tax pressure induced size of the German underground economy may be much lower than previously thought. To this extent, German policy and law makers have been misguided during the last three decades. Therefore, we introduce the Modified-Cash-Deposit-Ratio (MCDR) approach, which is not subject to the recent critique and apply it to Germany for the period 1960 to 2008.

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Paper provided by Institute of Spatial and Housing Economics, Munster Universitary in its series Working Papers with number 201036.

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Handle: RePEc:muc:wpaper:201036
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  1. Philip Cagan, 1958. "The Demand for Currency Relative to Total Money Supply," NBER Chapters, in: The Demand for Currency Relative to Total Money Supply, pages 1-37 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Friedrich Schneider & Dominik Enste, 2000. "Shadow Economies Around the World; Size, Causes, and Consequences," IMF Working Papers 00/26, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Edgar L. Feige, 2004. "How Big IS the Irregular Economy?," Macroeconomics 0404005, EconWPA.
  4. Michael Pickhardt & Edward Shinnick (ed.), 2008. "The Shadow Economy, Corruption and Governance," Books, Edward Elgar, number 13267, July.
  5. David E. A. Giles, 1998. "Measuring The Hidden Economy: Implications for Econometric Modelling," Econometrics Working Papers 9809, Department of Economics, University of Victoria.
  6. Klovland, Jan Tore, 1984. " Tax Evasion and the Demand for Currency in Norway and Sweden. Is There a Hidden Relationship?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 86(4), pages 423-39.
  7. Andreas Buehn & Alexander Karmann & Friedrich Schneider, 2009. "Shadow Economy and Do-it-Yourself Activities: The German Case," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 165(4), pages 701-722, December.
  8. Ahumada, Hildegart & Alvaredo, Facundo & Canavese, Alfredo, 2008. "The monetary method to measure the shadow economy: The forgotten problem of the initial conditions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(2), pages 97-99, November.
  9. 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, 05.
  10. 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.
  11. Vito Tanzi, 1983. "The Underground Economy in the United States: Annual Estimates, 1930-80 (L'économie clandestine aux Etats-Unis: estimations annuelles, 1930-80) (La "economía subterránea" de Estados Unido," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 30(2), pages 283-305, June.
  12. Frey, Bruno S & Pommerehne, Werner W, 1984. "The Hidden Economy: State and Prospects for Measurement," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 30(1), pages 1-23, March.
  13. Friedrich Schneider & Ursula Windischbauer, 2010. "Money Laundering: Some Facts," Economics of Security Working Paper Series 25, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  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. Panayiota Lyssiotou & Panos Pashardes & Thanasis Stengos, 2004. "Estimates of the black economy based on consumer demand approaches," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 622-640, 07.
  16. Hildegart Ahumada & Facundo Alvaredo & Alfredo Canavese, 2007. "The Monetary Method And The Size Of The Shadow Economy: A Critical Assessment," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 53(2), pages 363-371, 06.
  17. Gerhard Graf, 2007. "Die volkswirtschaftliche Bedeutung von Schwarzarbeit," List Forum Chapter, in: List Forum Band 33, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 6, pages 106-128 List Gesellschaft e.V..
  18. Frey, Bruno S & Weck, Hannelore, 1983. "Estimating the Shadow Economy: A 'Naive' Approach," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(1), pages 23-44, March.
  19. Trevor Breusch, 2005. "Estimating the Underground Economy using MIMIC Models," Econometrics 0507003, EconWPA, revised 25 Jul 2005.
  20. Phillip Cagan, 1958. "The Demand for Currency Relative to the Total Money Supply," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 303.
  21. Isachsen, Arne Jon & Strom, Steiner, 1985. "The Size and Growth of the Hidden Economy in Norway," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 31(1), pages 21-38, March.
  22. Petersen, Hans-Georg, 1982. "Size of the Public Sector, Economic Growth and the Informal Economy: Development Trends in the Federal Republic of Germany," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 28(2), pages 191-215, June.
  23. Trevor Breusch, 2005. "Australia's Cash Economy: Are the Estimates Credible?," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 81(255), pages 394-403, December.
  24. Michael Pickhardt & Jordi Sarda Pons, 2006. "Size and scope of the underground economy in Germany," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(14), pages 1707-1713.
  25. Philip Cagan, 1958. "The Demand for Currency Relative to Total Money Supply," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number caga58-1, May.
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