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Inflation and the underground economy

  • Ahiabu, Stephen

This paper studies the optimal rate of seigniorage in an economy characterized by decentralized trade and a tax-evading underground sector. The economy has buyers, some of whom visit the formal market, while others visit the underground market. I find that the optimal rate of inflation depends on which of the two sectors, formal or underground, is more crowded/congested with buyers. If the underground sector is more crowded, the optimal inflation rate is as high as 42% per annum for Peru. That is, I offer a possible motivation for the high rates of inflation observed in that country from the mid 1970s up to the mid 1990s. If the formal sector is more crowded, optimal inflation falls to about 1.4%, which is close to the rate in 2005. Friedman rule is not optimal.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 763.

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Date of creation: Oct 2006
Date of revision: Oct 2006
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:763
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  4. 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.
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  10. Nicolini, Juan Pablo, 1998. "Tax evasion and the optimal inflation tax," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 215-232, February.
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  18. V. V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1993. "Optimality of the Friedman Rule in Economies with Distorting Taxes," NBER Working Papers 4443, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1980. "Optimal Corrective Taxes or Subsidies When Revenue Raising Imposes an Excess Burden," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(4), pages 744-51, September.
  20. Miguel Molico, 2006. "The Distribution Of Money And Prices In Search Equilibrium," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(3), pages 701-722, 08.
  21. de V. Cavalcanti, Tiago V. & Villamil, Anne P., 2003. "Optimal Inflation Tax And Structural Reform," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(03), pages 333-362, June.
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  24. Koreshkova, Tatyana A., 2006. "A quantitative analysis of inflation as a tax on the underground economy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 773-796, May.
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