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On the Political Economy of the Informal Sector and Income Redistribution

  • Hatipoglu, Ozan
  • Ozbek, Gulenay

In this paper we analyze a general equilibrium model in which agents choose to be employed in formal or in the informal sector. The formal sector is taxed to provide income subsidies and the level of redistribution is determined endogenously through majority voting. We explore how the demand for redistribution determined by majority voting interacts with the incentive to work in the untaxed informal market. We also investigate how different levels of the informal sector wage can explain simultaneous changes in the size of the informal sector and level of redistribution. The model is simulated to produce qualitative results to illustrate the differences between economies with different distributional features. The model accounts for the different sizes of informal sector and income redistribution in Mexico and United States.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 7857.

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Date of creation: 20 Mar 2008
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:7857
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  1. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ayse Imrohoroglu & Antonio Merlo & Peter Rupert, 1996. "On the political economy of income redistribution and crime," Staff Report 216, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Aureo de Paula & Jose A Sheinkman, 2007. "The Informal Sector," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001663, UCLA Department of Economics.
  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.
  5. Ihrig, Jane & Moe, Karine S., 2004. "Lurking in the shadows: the informal sector and government policy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 541-557, April.
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  7. Mazumdar, Dipak, 1976. "The urban informal sector," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 4(8), pages 655-679, August.
  8. Friedman, Eric & Johnson, Simon & Kaufmann, Daniel & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 2000. "Dodging the grabbing hand: the determinants of unofficial activity in 69 countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 459-493, June.
  9. Friedrich Schneider & Dominik Enste, 1999. "Shadow Economies Around the World - Size, Causes, and Consequences," CESifo Working Paper Series 196, CESifo Group Munich.
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  11. Lemieux, Thomas & Fortin, Bernard & Frechette, Pierre, 1994. "The Effect of Taxes on Labor Supply in the Underground Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 231-54, March.
  12. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-490.
  13. Hildegart Ahumada & Facundo Alvaredo & Alfredo Canavese, 2007. "The Monetary Method And The Size Of The Shadow Economy: A Critical Assessment," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 53(2), pages 363-371, 06.
  14. Rauch, James E., 1991. "Modelling the informal sector formally," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 33-47, January.
  15. Macias, Jose Brambila & Cazzavillan, Guido, 2009. "The dynamics of parallel economies. Measuring the informal sector in Mexico," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 189-199, September.
  16. Dessy, Sylvain & Pallage, Stephane, 2003. "Taxes, inequality and the size of the informal sector," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 225-233, February.
  17. Jose-Victor Rios-Rull & Per Krusell, 1999. "On the Size of U.S. Government: Political Economy in the Neoclassical Growth Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1156-1181, December.
  18. Fortin, Bernard & Marceau, Nicolas & Savard, Luc, 1997. "Taxation, wage controls and the informal sector," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 293-312, November.
  19. Roberts, Kevin W. S., 1977. "Voting over income tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 329-340, December.
  20. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  21. Chong, Alberto & Gradstein, Mark, 2007. "Inequality and informality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 159-179, February.
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