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The Elasticity of Informality to Taxes and Transfers

Author

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  • Alonso-Ortiz, Jorge
  • Leal Ordonez, Julio

Abstract

In this work we study the impact on the size of the informal sector of a tax levied on formal workers, and transfers that may be distributed to both formal and informal workers alike. We build a search model that features an informal sector and we calibrate it to data from Mex- ico. We investigate whether changes in size and distribution of transfers between formal and informal workers have a significant impact on the size of the informal sector. We find that changes in the distribution, for a given size, create a range of variation of 19.35pp. Analogously, changes in size create a range of variation of 5.7pp, resulting in a total range of variation of 51.2pp. This implies that it is possible to substantially increase formalization by rising extra tax resources as long as they accrue to formal workers. We illustrate the validity of our approach simulating the introduction of Seguro Popular.

Suggested Citation

  • Alonso-Ortiz, Jorge & Leal Ordonez, Julio, 2013. "The Elasticity of Informality to Taxes and Transfers," MPRA Paper 49568, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:49568
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Keane, Michael & Moffitt, Robert, 1998. "A Structural Model of Multiple Welfare Program Participation and Labor Supply," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(3), pages 553-589, August.
    6. Rodrigo Barros, 2008. "Wealthier But Not Much Healthier: Effects of a Health Insurance Program for the Poor in Mexico," Discussion Papers 09-002, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    7. Bosch, Mariano & Esteban-Pretel, Julen, 2015. "The labor market effects of introducing unemployment benefits in an economy with high informality," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 1-17.
    8. Mariano Bosch & Julen Esteban-Pretel, 2009. "Cyclical Informality and Unemployment," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-613, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
    9. 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.
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    11. Antunes, Antonio R. & Cavalcanti, Tiago V. de V., 2007. "Start up costs, limited enforcement, and the hidden economy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 203-224, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Arturo Antón, 2014. "The effect of payroll taxes on employment and wages under high labor informality," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-23, December.
    2. Francesca Castellani & Eduardo Lora, 2014. "Is Entrepreneurship a Channel of Social Mobility in Latin America?," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 51(2), pages 179-194, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Informal Sector; Search; Tax and Transfer Programs; Seguro Popular;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E26 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Informal Economy; Underground Economy
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings

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