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Macroeconomic Implications of the Underground Sector: Challenging the Double Business Cycle Approach

  • Catalina Granda-Carvajal

    (University of Connecticut and Universidad de Antioquia)

Within the literature on business cycles featuring shadow economic activities, there is an approach based on the arguable premise that fluctuations in the official and unofficial sectors are negatively correlated. The present paper develops a real business cycle model that does not impose such an assumption. To do so, preferences are characterized so that regular and irregular labor are additively separable. Furthermore, leisure time is spent on both irregular work effort and non-market activities. Simulations are conducted to examine the performance of the model economy and to compare the resulting cyclical features with related empirical findings. In addition, computational experiments allow to analyze the effects of different tax structures, enforcement rates and tastes for irregular labor on the volatility and comovements of aggregate variables. These simulations and experiments overall offer a more comprehensive view of the cyclical implications of the shadow economy.

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Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2011-14.

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Length: 58 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2011-14
Note: I am greatly indebted to my adviser, Christian Zimmermann, for his valuable comments and support. Also, I would like to thank seminar participants at the University of Connecticut. Any errors are entirely mine.
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Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/

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  1. Christopher Bajada, 2003. "Business Cycle Properties of the Legitimate and Underground Economy in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 79(247), pages 397-411, December.
  2. Thijs van Rens & Jordi Gali, 2010. "The Vanishing Procyclicality of Labor Productivity," 2010 Meeting Papers 705, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. repec:att:wimass:9610 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Greenwood, J. & Hercowitz, Z., 1991. "The Allocation of Capital and Time Over the Business Cycle," RCER Working Papers 268, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  5. Benhabib, Jess & Rogerson, Richard & Wright, Randall, 1991. "Homework in Macroeconomics: Household Production and Aggregate Fluctuations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1166-87, December.
  6. Gisele Ferreira-Tiryaki, 2008. "The informal economy and business cycles," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 0, pages 91-117, May.
  7. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Razin, Assaf & Tesar, Linda L., 1994. "Effective tax rates in macroeconomics: Cross-country estimates of tax rates on factor incomes and consumption," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 297-323, December.
  8. Catalina Granda-Carvajal, 2010. "The Unofficial Economy and the Business Cycle: A Test for Theories," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(4), pages 573-586.
  9. Giles, David E A, 1997. "Testing for Asymmetry in the Measured and Underground Business Cycles in New Zealand," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 73(222), pages 225-32, September.
  10. James Andreoni & Brian Erard & Jonathan Feinstein, 1998. "Tax Compliance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 818-860, June.
  11. Cho, Jang-Ok & Cooley, Thomas F., 1994. "Employment and hours over the business cycle," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 411-432, March.
  12. McGrattan, Ellen R., 1994. "The macroeconomic effects of distortionary taxation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 573-601, June.
  13. Cowell, Frank A., 1985. "Tax evasion with labour income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 19-34, February.
  14. Ellen McGrattan & Richard Rogerson & Randall Wright, 1995. "An equilibrium model of the business cycle with household production and fiscal policy," Staff Report 191, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  15. 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.
  16. Conesa, Juan Carlos & Diaz-Moreno, Carlos & Galdon-Sanchez, Jose Enrique, 2002. "Explaining cross-country differences in participation rates and aggregate fluctuations," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 333-345, February.
  17. Anton Braun, R., 1994. "Tax disturbances and real economic activity in the postwar United States," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 441-462, June.
  18. Jørgensen, Øystein & Ognedal, Tone & Strøm, Steinar, 2005. "Labor supply when tax evasion is an option," Memorandum 06/2005, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  19. Rafael La Porta & Andrei Shleifer, 2008. "The Unofficial Economy and Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 14520, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Lacroix, Guy & Fortin, Bernard, 1992. "Utility-Based Estimation of Labour Supply Functions in the Regular and Irregular Sectors," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(415), pages 1407-22, November.
  21. Frederiksen, Anders & Graversen, Ebbe Krogh & Smith, Nina, 2005. "Tax evasion and work in the underground sector," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(5), pages 613-628, October.
  22. Francesco Busato & Bruno Chiarini, 2004. "Market and underground activities in a two-sector dynamic equilibrium model," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 23(4), pages 831-861, May.
  23. Friedrich Schneider, 2004. "Shadow Economies around the World: What do we really know?," IAW Discussion Papers 16, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).
  24. Allingham, Michael G. & Sandmo, Agnar, 1972. "Income tax evasion: a theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 323-338, November.
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