Estimating the Income Reporting Function for the Self-Employed
There is considerable interest in measuring the underground economy using microeconomic data. One such method estimates income under-reporting by households by assuming a known, parametric form of the Engel curve and making the further parametric assumption that households under-report their income by a constant fraction, independent of income. This paper proposes a nonparametric approach which avoids functional form restrictions and enables the reporting function to vary across income levels and household characteristics. I illustrate by estimating the effect of the Canadian Goods and Services Tax on income under-reporting.
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