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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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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/763/1/MPRA_paper_763.pdf
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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/1706/1/MPRA_paper_1706.pdf
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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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  1. 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.
  2. Thomas F. Cooley & Gary D. Hansen, 1991. "The welfare costs of moderate inflations," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 483-518.
  3. Randall Wright, 2005. "Introduction to "Models of Monetary Economies II: The Next Generation"," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Oct, pages 2-9.
  4. Juster, F Thomas & Stafford, Frank P, 1991. "The Allocation of Time: Empirical Findings, Behavioral Models, and Problems of Measurement," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(2), pages 471-522, June.
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  7. Barbara Petrongolo & Christopher Pissarides, 2000. "Looking into the black box: a survey of the matching function," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2122, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  8. 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.
  9. Aruoba, S. Boragan & Waller, Christopher J. & Wright, Randall, 2011. "Money and capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 98-116, March.
  10. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1989. "On Money as a Medium of Exchange," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 927-54, August.
  11. Taber, Alexander & Wallace, Neil, 1999. "A Matching Model with Bounded Holdings of Indivisible Money," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(4), pages 961-84, November.
  12. 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.
  13. Ricardo Lagos & Randall Wright, 2005. "A Unified Framework for Monetary Theory and Policy Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(3), pages 463-484, June.
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  16. repec:cup:macdyn:v:7:y:2003:i:3:p:333-62 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Levenson, Alec R. & Besley, Timothy, 1996. "The anatomy of an informal financial market: Rosca participation in Taiwan," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 45-68, October.
  18. Faig, Miquel, 1988. "Characterization of the optimal tax on money when it functions as a medium of exchange," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 137-148, July.
  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. Nicolini, Juan Pablo, 1998. "Tax evasion and the optimal inflation tax," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 215-232, February.
  21. Benabou, Roland, 1991. "The Welfare Costs of Moderate Inflations: Comment," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(3), pages 504-13, August.
  22. Lawrence Goulder, 1995. "Environmental taxation and the double dividend: A reader's guide," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 157-183, August.
  23. Guidotti, Pablo E. & Vegh, Carlos A., 1993. "The optimal inflation tax when money reduces transactions costs : A reconsideration," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 189-205, April.
  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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