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Taxes, Risk-Aversion, and the Size of the Underground Economy: A Nonparametric Analysis With New Zealand Data

  • David E. A. Giles

    ()

  • Betty J. Johnson

    ()

We use nonparametric regression analysis to investigate the relationship between the effective tax rate and the relative size of the underground economy, using New Zealand data. The theoretical underpinnings of such a relationship are established by extending some of the predictions of the recent model of Trandel and Snow (1999) to allow for the form of the available aggregate data. Time-series evidence indicates that these data are non-stationary and cointegrated, and this is taken into account in our estimation. The theoretical framework produces an ambiguous prediction regarding the sign of the relationship we are studying. However, our nonparametric empirical analysis produces a positive and "S-shaped" relationship, and this supports earlier empirical studies that imposed such functional forms. The estimated model is used to simulate the effects of hypothetical tax changes on the size of the New Zealand underground economy, and to draw policy conclusions.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Victoria in its series Econometrics Working Papers with number 0006.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 11 May 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:vic:vicewp:0006
Note: ISSN 1485-6441 ; supercedes EWP9910
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Web page: http://web.uvic.ca/econ

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  1. Hardle, W., 1992. "Applied Nonparametric Methods," Papers 9204, Catholique de Louvain - Institut de statistique.
  2. Dickey, David A & Fuller, Wayne A, 1981. "Likelihood Ratio Statistics for Autoregressive Time Series with a Unit Root," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 1057-72, June.
  3. Kesselman, Jonathan R., 1989. "Income tax evasion : An intersectoral analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 137-182, March.
  4. David Giles, 1997. "Causality between the measured and underground economies in New Zealand," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(1), pages 63-67.
  5. Cheung, Yin-Wong & Lai, Kon S, 1993. "Finite-Sample Sizes of Johansen's Likelihood Ration Tests for Conintegration," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 55(3), pages 313-28, August.
  6. Denis Kwiatkowski & Peter C.B. Phillips & Peter Schmidt, 1991. "Testing the Null Hypothesis of Stationarity Against the Alternative of a Unit Root: How Sure Are We That Economic Time Series Have a Unit Root?," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 979, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  7. Osterwald-Lenum, Michael, 1992. "A Note with Quantiles of the Asymptotic Distribution of the Maximum Likelihood Cointegration Rank Test Statistics," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 54(3), pages 461-72, August.
  8. Johansen, Soren, 1995. "Likelihood-Based Inference in Cointegrated Vector Autoregressive Models," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198774501, March.
  9. 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.
  10. Watson, Harry, 1985. "Tax evasion and labor markets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 231-246, July.
  11. Oliver LINTON, . "Applied nonparametric methods," Statistic und Oekonometrie 9312, Humboldt Universitaet Berlin.
  12. David Giles & Patrick Caragata, 2001. "The learning path of the hidden economy: the tax burden and tax evasion in New Zealand," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(14), pages 1857-1867.
  13. 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.
  14. Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G, 1981. "Several Tests for Model Specification in the Presence of Alternative Hypotheses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(3), pages 781-93, May.
  15. Leybourne, S J & McCabe, B P M, 1994. "A Simple Test for Cointegration," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 56(1), pages 97-103, February.
  16. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1974. "Income tax evasion: A theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 201-202, May.
  17. Johansen, Soren, 1988. "Statistical analysis of cointegration vectors," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 12(2-3), pages 231-254.
  18. Giles, David E A & Werkneh, Gugsa T & Johnson, Betty J, 2001. "Asymmetric Responses of the Underground Economy to Tax Changes: Evidence from New Zealand Data," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 77(237), pages 148-59, June.
  19. Toda, Hiro Y. & Yamamoto, Taku, 1995. "Statistical inference in vector autoregressions with possibly integrated processes," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1-2), pages 225-250.
  20. David E. A. Giles, 1998. "Modelling the Tax Compliance Profiles of New Zealand Firms: Evidence from Audit Records," Department Discussion Papers 9803, Department of Economics, University of Victoria.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Koskela, Erkki, 1983. "A note on progression, penalty schemes and tax evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 127-133, October.
  24. Clotfelter, Charles T, 1983. "Tax Evasion and Tax Rates: An Analysis of Individual Returns," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(3), pages 363-73, August.
  25. Patrick J. Caragata, & David E. A. Giles, 1998. "Simulating the Relationship Between the Hidden Economy and the Tax Level and Tax Mix in New Zealand," Econometrics Working Papers 9804, Department of Economics, University of Victoria.
  26. Yin-Wong Cheung & Menzie Chinn & Tron Tran, 1995. "How sensitive are estimated trends to data definitions? Results for East Asian and G-5 countries," Macroeconomics 9508004, EconWPA.
  27. Crane, Steven E & Nourzad, Farrokh, 1987. "On the Treatment of Income Tax Rates in Empirical Analysis of Tax Evasion," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 338-48.
  28. Pencavel, John H., 1979. "A note on income tax evasion, labor supply, and nonlinear tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 115-124, August.
  29. Trandel, Greg & Snow, Arthur, 1999. "Progressive income taxation and the underground economy," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 217-222, February.
  30. Linda F. DeBenedictis, & David E. A. Giles, 1998. "Robust Specification Testing in Regression: The FRESET Test and Autocorrelated Disturbances," Econometrics Working Papers 9806, Department of Economics, University of Victoria.
  31. Dolado, Juan J & Jenkinson, Tim & Sosvilla-Rivero, Simon, 1990. " Cointegration and Unit Roots," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(3), pages 249-73.
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