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Asymmetric Responses of the Underground Economy to Tax Changes: Evidence From New Zealand Data

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  • David E. A. Giles

    ()

  • Gugsa T. Werkneh

    ()

  • Betty J. Johnson

    ()

Abstract

We consider the relationship between taxes and the size of the underground economy in New Zealand. Previous studies indicate that a positive relationship exists in this and certain other countries. We address the following question: "Is the response of the underground economy to an increase in taxes the same as its response to a decrease in taxes?" To answer this question we modify an existing methodology for testing for both "timing symmetry" and "pattern symmetry". Paying careful attention to the non-stationarity and cointegration of our annual data, we test for the presence of such symmetry in the tax-evasion relationship for New Zealand. We find that although the effect on the underground economy of an upward movement in the effective tax rate is numerically greater than that of a downward tax movement, this difference is not statistically significant in either the short-run or the long-run. Elasticity and multiplier calculations allow us to quantify some of the effects of changes in taxation policy on hidden output.

Suggested Citation

  • David E. A. Giles & Gugsa T. Werkneh & Betty J. Johnson, 1999. "Asymmetric Responses of the Underground Economy to Tax Changes: Evidence From New Zealand Data," Econometrics Working Papers 9911, Department of Economics, University of Victoria.
  • Handle: RePEc:vic:vicewp:9911
    Note: ISSN 1485-6441
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David E. A. Giles, 1999. "Modelling the hidden economy and the tax-gap in New Zealand," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 621-640.
    2. 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.
    3. 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 338-348.
    4. David E. A. Giles, 1998. "Modelling the Tax Compliance Profiles of New Zealand Firms: Evidence from Audit Records," Econometrics Working Papers 9803, Department of Economics, University of Victoria.
    5. Kwiatkowski, Denis & Phillips, Peter C. B. & Schmidt, Peter & Shin, Yongcheol, 1992. "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?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1-3), pages 159-178.
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    7. David E. A. Giles & Betty J. Johnson, 1999. "Taxes, Risk-Aversion, and the Size of the Underground Economy: A Nonparametric Analysis With New Zealand Data," Econometrics Working Papers 9910, Department of Economics, University of Victoria.
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    17. 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.
    18. Trandel, Greg & Snow, Arthur, 1999. "Progressive income taxation and the underground economy," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 217-222, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. David E. A. Giles & Betty J. Johnson, 1999. "Taxes, Risk-Aversion, and the Size of the Underground Economy: A Nonparametric Analysis With New Zealand Data," Econometrics Working Papers 9910, Department of Economics, University of Victoria.
    2. Bernasconi, Michele & Corazzini, Luca & Seri, Raffaello, 2014. "Reference dependent preferences, hedonic adaptation and tax evasion: Does the tax burden matter?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 103-118.
    3. Wang, David Han-Min & Yu, Tiffany Hui-Kuang & Hu, Heng-Chang, 2012. "On the asymmetric relationship between the size of the underground economy and the change in effective tax rate in Taiwan," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 340-343.
    4. Wang, David Han-Min & Lin, Jer-Yan & Yu, Tiffany Hui-Kuang, 2006. "A MIMIC approach to modeling the underground economy in Taiwan," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 371(2), pages 536-542.
    5. Michele Bernasconi, Luca Corazzini, Raffaello Seri, 2012. "Tax Evasion: Does the Tax Burden Matter?," ISLA Working Papers 43, ISLA, Centre for research on Latin American Studies and Transition Economies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    6. Anbarci, Nejat & Gomis-Porqueras, Pedro & Marcus, Pivato, 2012. "Formal and informal markets: A strategic and evolutionary perspective," MPRA Paper 42513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. repec:spr:joevec:v:28:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s00191-017-0544-2 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tax evasion; underground economy; tax rates; asymmetry;

    JEL classification:

    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance

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