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Globalizing Tax Evasion: How Competition Affects the Size of the Underground Economy

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Abstract

The underground economy expanded substantially during the late 1990s, both in the industrialized and the developing world. I argue that this development is a response to the sharp increase in market competition worldwide. I develop a parsimonious oligopoly model of free entry and free sector choice, where the intensity of competition is captured by the degree of (exogenous) product differentiation. Operating in the underground economy reduces variable costs, but comes at the risk of being detected and fined. The keener is competition, the higher is the pressure to reduce costs, and the more pervasive is the underground economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Liliane Karlinger, 2008. "Globalizing Tax Evasion: How Competition Affects the Size of the Underground Economy," Vienna Economics Papers 0801, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:vie:viennp:0801
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Does Competition Destroy Ethical Behavior?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 414-418, May.
    3. Koujianou Goldberg, Pinelopi & Pavcnik, Nina, 2003. "The response of the informal sector to trade liberalization," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 463-496, December.
    4. 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 231-254, March.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Motta,Massimo, 2004. "Competition Policy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521016919.
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    Cited by:

    1. Karlinger, Liliane, 2009. "The Underground Economy in the Late 1990s: Evading Taxes, or Evading Competition?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 1600-1611, October.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms

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