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Shadow Economies All over the World: New Estimates for 162 Countries from 1999 to 2007

  • Friedrich Schneider
  • Andreas Buehn
  • Claudio E. Montenegro

This paper presents estimations of the shadow economies for 162 countries, including developing Eastern European, Central Asian, and high-income countries over the period 1999 to 2006/2007. According to the estimations, the average size of the shadow economy (as a percentage of "official" gross domestic product) in 2006 in 98 developing countries is 38.7 percent; in 21 Eastern European and Central Asian (mostly transition) countries, it is 38.1 percent, and in 25 high-income countries, it is 18.7 percent. The authors find that the driving forces of the shadow economy are an increased burden of taxation (both direct and indirect), combined with labor market regulations and the quality of public goods and services, as well as the state of the “official” economy.

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Paper provided by University of Chile, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number wp322.

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Length: 54 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:udc:wpaper:wp322
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  1. 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.
  2. Friedrich Schneider & Andreas Buehn & Claudio Montenegro, 2010. "New Estimates for the Shadow Economies all over the World," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(4), pages 443-461.
  3. repec:pal:imfstp:v:33:y:1986:i:4:p:790-798 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. David E. A. Giles, 1998. "Measuring The Hidden Economy: Implications for Econometric Modelling," Econometrics Working Papers 9809, Department of Economics, University of Victoria.
  5. Kenneth Rogoff, 1998. "Blessing or curse? Foreign and underground demand for euro notes," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 13(26), pages 261-303, 04.
  6. Taylor, Mark P, 1996. "Earnings, Independence or Unemployment: Why Become Self-Employed?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 58(2), pages 253-66, May.
  7. Friedrich Schneider & Dominik Enste, 2000. "Shadow Economies Around the World; Size, Causes, and Consequences," IMF Working Papers 00/26, International Monetary Fund.
  8. Schneider, Friedrich, 2005. "Shadow economies around the world: what do we really know?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 598-642, September.
  9. Frey, Bruno S & Pommerehne, Werner W, 1984. "The Hidden Economy: State and Prospects for Measurement," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 30(1), pages 1-23, March.
  10. Friedrich Schneider, 2006. "Shadow Economies and Corruption all over the World: What do we really Know?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1806, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Tilman Brück & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2003. "Creating Low Skilled Jobs by Subsidising Market-Contracted Household Work," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 387, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  12. 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.
  13. Trevor Breusch, 2005. "Estimating the Underground Economy using MIMIC Models," Econometrics 0507003, EconWPA, revised 25 Jul 2005.
  14. Frey, Bruno S. & Weck-Hanneman, Hannelore, 1984. "The hidden economy as an 'unobserved' variable," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(1-2), pages 33-53.
  15. Schneider, Friedrich G. & Buehn, Andreas, 2007. "Shadow economies and corruption all over the world: revised estimates for 120 countries," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 1, pages 1-53.
  16. Annette Mummert & Friedrich Schneider, 2001. "The German Shadow Economy: Parted in a United Germany?," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 58(3), pages 286-, July.
  17. Michael Alexeev & William Pyle, 2003. "A note on measuring the unofficial economy in the former Soviet Republics -super-1," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 11(1), pages 153-175, March.
  18. David E. A. Giles, 1999. "Modelling the Hidden Economy and the Tax-Gap in New Zealand," Econometrics Working Papers 9905, Department of Economics, University of Victoria.
  19. Schneider, Friedrich, 1986. " Estimating the Size of the Danish Shadow Economy Using the Currency Demand Approach: An Attempt," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(4), pages 643-68.
  20. Klovland, Jan Tore, 1984. " Tax Evasion and the Demand for Currency in Norway and Sweden. Is There a Hidden Relationship?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 86(4), pages 423-39.
  21. Enrico Marcelli, 2004. "Unauthorized Mexican Immigration, Day Labour and other Lower-wage Informal Employment in California," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(1), pages 1-13.
  22. David Giles, 1999. "The rise and fall of the New Zealand underground economy: are the responses symmetric?," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(3), pages 185-189.
  23. Thomas, Jim, 1999. "Quantifying the Black Economy: 'Measurement without Theory' Yet Again?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages F381-89, June.
  24. Andreoni, J. & Erard, B. & Feinstein, J., 1996. "Tax Compliance," Working papers 9610r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  25. Giles, David E..A. & Tedds, Lindsay M. & Werkneh, Gugsa, 2002. "The Canadian Underground and Measured Economies: Granger Causality Results," MPRA Paper 39786, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  26. Johnson, Simon & Kaufmann, Daniel & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1998. "Regulatory Discretion and the Unofficial Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 387-92, May.
  27. Johnson, Simon & Kaufmann, Daniel & Zoido-Lobatón, Pablo, 1998. "Corruption, public finances and the unofficial economy," Sede de la CEPAL en Santiago (Estudios e Investigaciones) 34372, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
  28. Schneider, Friedrich G., 2007. "Shadow Economies and Corruption All Over the World: New Estimates for 145 Countries," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 1, pages 1-66.
  29. Schneider, Friedrich, 1994. "Can the Shadow Economy Be Reduced through Major Tax Reforms? An Empirical Investigation for Austria," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 49(Supplemen), pages 137-52.
  30. Frey, Bruno S & Weck, Hannelore, 1983. "Estimating the Shadow Economy: A 'Naive' Approach," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(1), pages 23-44, March.
  31. Friedrich Schneider, 2005. "Shadow Economies of 145 Countries all over the World: What Do We Really Know?," CREMA Working Paper Series 2005-13, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  32. Bhattacharyya, Dilip K, 1999. "On the Economic Rationale of Estimating the Hidden Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages F348-59, June.
  33. Andreas Buehn & Alexander Karmann & Friedrich Schneider, 2009. "Shadow Economy and Do-it-Yourself Activities: The German Case," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 165(4), pages 701-722, December.
  34. repec:pal:imfstp:v:33:y:1986:i:4:p:782-789 is not listed on IDEAS
  35. Isachsen, Arne Jon & Strom, Steiner, 1985. "The Size and Growth of the Hidden Economy in Norway," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 31(1), pages 21-38, March.
  36. Roberto Dell’Anno & Friedrich G. Schneider, 2006. "Estimating the underground economy by using MIMIC models: A response to T. Breusch´s critique," Economics working papers 2006-07, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  37. Roberto Dell'Anno & Offiong Helen Solomon, 2008. "Shadow economy and unemployment rate in USA: is there a structural relationship? An empirical analysis," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(19), pages 2537-2555.
  38. Ahumada, Hildegart & Alvaredo, Facundo & Canavese, Alfredo J., 2006. "The Demand for Currency Approach and the Size of the Shadow Economy: A Critical Assessment," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt6zn9p98b, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  39. Maloney, William F., 1998. "Are labor markets in developing countries dualistic?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1941, The World Bank.
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