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Taxing the unobservable: The impact of the shadow economy on inflation and taxation

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  • Ummad Mazhar
  • Pierre-Guillaume Méon

Abstract

We test the notion that a government may rely less on taxes and more on inflation to finance its expenditures the larger the size of the shadow economy. In a sample of developed and developing countries over the 1999-2007 period, we indeed report a negative relation between the tax burden and the size of the shadow economy, and a positive relation between inflation and the size of the shadow economy. We provide evidence that both are conditional on central bank independence and the exchange rate regime. Both survive a series of robustness checks, controlling for reverse causality, simultaneity, level of development, and estimates of the shadow economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Ummad Mazhar & Pierre-Guillaume Méon, 2012. "Taxing the unobservable: The impact of the shadow economy on inflation and taxation," Working Papers CEB 12-023, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/125005
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    Cited by:

    1. Gerasimos T. Soldatos, 2016. "An Anti-Austerity Policy Recipe Against Debt Accumulation in the Presence of Hidden Economy," Asian Economic and Financial Review, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 6(2), pages 90-99, February.
    2. repec:ers:ijebaa:v:iv:y:2016:i:4:p:3-16 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:ers:ijebaa:v:iv:y:2016:i:2:p:80-92 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Mohammad Reza Farzanegan & Bernd Hayo, 2018. "Sanctions and the Shadow Economy: Empirical Evidence from Iranian Provinces," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201807, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    5. Oasis Kodila-Tedika & Mihai Mutascu, 2014. "Shadow economy and tax revenue in Africa," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 34(1), pages 469-479.
    6. Mazhar, Ummad & Jafri, Juvaria, 2014. "Does an informal sector reduce the economic dividends of political stability? Empirical evidence," MPRA Paper 60764, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Claudio Cesaroni, 2017. "Optimal Long-Run Inflation and the Informal Economy," Bank of Lithuania Working Paper Series 46, Bank of Lithuania.
    8. Soldatos, Gerasimos T., 2015. "An Anti-Austerity Policy Recipe against Debt Accumulation in the Presence of Hidden Economy," MPRA Paper 69911, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Shadow economy; Inflation; Taxes; Inflation tax;

    JEL classification:

    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • H27 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Other Sources of Revenue

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