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An Empirical Model of Labor Supply in the Underground Economy

  • Bernard Fortin
  • Thomas Lemieux
  • Pierre Frechette

This paper uses micro data from a random survey carried out in the region of Quebec City, Canada, to estimate a model of labor supply in the underground economy. The model assumes that the individual's gross wage rate in the regular sector is parametric while his gross labor earnings in the underground sector are a concave function of hours of work. This distinction between the two sectors is used to generate a simple separation result between preferences and the magnitude of underground labor market activities. This result implies that the individual's labor supply in the underground economy is generally a negative function of his net wage rate in the regular sector. The separation result also implies a set of restrictions on the parameters of the reduced form of the model, which are imposed using minimum distance methods of estimation. Various generalized method of moments specification tests allow us to verify the validity of these restrictions. According to our results, the marginal tax rates embodied in the Quebec tax-transfer system are an important determinant of the decision to participate in the underground sector.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3392.

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Date of creation: Jun 1990
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Publication status: published as American Economic Review , vol.84, no.1, pp.231-254, March 1994.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3392
Note: LS
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  1. Victor Ginsburgh & Pierre Pestieau, 1987. "L'économie informelle," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/1661, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  2. Usher, Dan, 1986. "Tax Evasion and the Marginal Cost of Public Funds," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 24(4), pages 563-86, October.
  3. Hausman, Jerry A., 1985. "Taxes and labor supply," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 213-263 Elsevier.
  4. Fluet, Claude, 1987. "Fraude fiscale et offre de travail au noir," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 63(2), pages 225-242, juin et s.
  5. Cowell, Frank A., 1985. "Tax evasion with labour income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 19-34, February.
  6. Watson, Harry, 1985. "Tax evasion and labor markets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 231-246, July.
  7. Rosen, Harvey S, 1976. "Taxes in a Labor Supply Model with Joint Wage-Hours Determination," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(3), pages 485-507, May.
  8. Gronau, Reuben, 1977. "Leisure, Home Production, and Work-The Theory of the Allocation of Time Revisited," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1099-1123, December.
  9. Chamberlain, Gary, 1982. "Multivariate regression models for panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 5-46, January.
  10. Pencavel, John H., 1979. "A note on income tax evasion, labor supply, and nonlinear tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 115-124, August.
  11. Greenberg, David & Halsey, Harlan, 1983. "Systematic Misreporting and Effects of Income Maintenance Experiments on Work Effort: Evidence from the Seattle-Denver Experiment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(4), pages 380-407, October.
  12. Chamberlain, Gary, 1984. "Panel data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1247-1318 Elsevier.
  13. Kesselman, Jonathan R., 1989. "Income tax evasion : An intersectoral analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 137-182, March.
  14. Clotfelter, Charles T, 1983. "Tax Evasion and Tax Rates: An Analysis of Individual Returns," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(3), pages 363-73, August.
  15. James J. Heckman, 1976. "The Common Structure of Statistical Models of Truncation, Sample Selection and Limited Dependent Variables and a Simple Estimator for Such Models," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 5, number 4, pages 475-492 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. van Eck, Robert & Kazemier, Brugt, 1988. "Features of the Hidden Economy in the Netherlands," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(3), pages 251-73, September.
  17. Amemiya, Takeshi, 1979. "The Estimation of a Simultaneous-Equation Tobit Model," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 20(1), pages 169-81, February.
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