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Size and causes of the underground economy in Spain: A correction of the record and new evidence from the MCDR approach

  • Michael Pickhardt
  • Jordi Sardà

We review existing estimates of the size of the Spanish underground economy, apply the Ahumada et al. (2007, RIW) correction procedure to some of them and calculate the size of the underground economy in Spain for the period 1960 through 2009 by using the modified-cash-deposits-ratio (MCDR) approach recently developed by Pickhardt and Sardà (2011, EJLE). We then extend the MCDR approach with respect to an analysis of the causes of the Spanish underground economy. Contrary to most other studies, we show that the latter is not predominantly caused by tax pressure, but by labor market aspects, macroeconomic influences and criminal activities. Based on these findings we derive some unprecedented policy recommendations.

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Paper provided by Institute of Spatial and Housing Economics, Munster Universitary in its series Working Papers with number 201280.

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Handle: RePEc:muc:wpaper:201280
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  1. 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.
  2. Namkee Ahn & Sara La De Rica, 1997. "The underground economy in Spain: an alternative to unemployment?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(6), pages 733-743.
  3. Jose Maria Serrano & Maria Dolores Gadea, 2005. "What causes the hidden economy in Spain?," Applied Financial Economics Letters, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 1(3), pages 143-150, May.
  4. 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.
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  6. 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.
  7. Edgar L. Feige, 2004. "How Big IS the Irregular Economy?," Macroeconomics 0404005, EconWPA.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Philip Cagan, 1958. "The Demand for Currency Relative to Total Money Supply," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number caga58-1, June.
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  12. Michael Pickhardt & Jordi Sarda, 2011. "The size of the underground economy in Germany: a correction of the record and new evidence from the modified-cash-deposit-ratio approach," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 143-163, August.
  13. Roberto Dell’Anno & Miguel Gómez-Antonio & Angel Pardo, 2007. "The shadow economy in three Mediterranean countries: France, Spain and Greece. A MIMIC approach," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 51-84, July.
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  19. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521814089 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. 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.
  21. Olivier Bargain & Prudence Kwenda, 2011. "Earnings Structures, Informal Employment, And Self‐Employment: New Evidence From Brazil, Mexico, And South Africa," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 57, pages S100-S122, 05.
  22. 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.
  23. Angel Alanon & M. Gomez-Antonio, 2005. "Estimating the size of the shadow economy in Spain: a structural model with latent variables," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(9), pages 1011-1025.
  24. 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.
  25. Pissarides, Christopher A. & Weber, Guglielmo, 1989. "An expenditure-based estimate of Britain's black economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 17-32, June.
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  27. 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.
  28. 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.
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