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The Underground Economy in the Late 1990s: Evading Taxes, or Evading Competition?

This paper studies the driving forces behind the considerable expansion of the underground economy during the late 1990s. I propose a novel explanation for this phenomenon: the sharp increase in market competition worldwide, which reduces prices and profits and drives firms into the shadow economy. Empirical evidence from a panel covering 42 countries from 1995 to 2000 shows that increased competition is indeed correlated with an expansion of the underground economy. The effect is weaker in high-income, high-tax, low-corruption countries that provide public services which make it worthwhile for firms to operate in the official economy despite growing competitive pressure.

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File URL: http://homepage.univie.ac.at/Papers.Econ/RePEc/vie/viennp/vie0802.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Vienna, Department of Economics in its series Vienna Economics Papers with number 0802.

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Date of creation: Jun 2008
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Handle: RePEc:vie:viennp:0802
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.univie.ac.at/vwl

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  1. Friedrich Schneider, 2004. "Shadow Economies around the World: What do we really know?," IAW Discussion Papers 16, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).
  2. Philip Cagan, 1958. "The Demand for Currency Relative to Total Money Supply," NBER Chapters, in: The Demand for Currency Relative to Total Money Supply, pages 1-37 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Philip Cagan, 1958. "The Demand for Currency Relative to Total Money Supply," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number caga58-1, October.
  5. Rafael Di Tella & Alberto Ades, 1999. "Rents, Competition, and Corruption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 982-993, September.
  6. Friedrich G. Schneider & Benno Torgler, 2006. "What shapes attitudes toward paying taxes? Evidence from multicultural european countries," Economics working papers 2006-08, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  7. 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.
  8. Dabla-Norris, Era & Gradstein, Mark & Inchauste, Gabriela, 2008. "What causes firms to hide output? The determinants of informality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1-2), pages 1-27, February.
  9. Jamasb, Tooraj, 2006. "Between the state and market: Electricity sector reform in developing countries," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 14-30, March.
  10. Friedrich Schneider & Dominik Enste, 1999. "Shadow Economies Around the World - Size, Causes, and Consequences," CESifo Working Paper Series 196, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Alm, James & Torgler, Benno, 2006. "Culture differences and tax morale in the United States and in Europe," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 224-246, April.
  12. 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.
  13. Phillip Cagan, 1958. "The Demand for Currency Relative to the Total Money Supply," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 303.
  14. Gonzalez, Alvaro S. & Lamanna, Francesca, 2007. "Who fears competition from informal firms ? evidence from Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4316, The World Bank.
  15. Eilat, Yair & Zinnes, Clifford, 2002. "The Shadow Economy in Transition Countries: Friend or Foe? A Policy Perspective," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(7), pages 1233-1254, July.
  16. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kaliberda, Aleksander, 1996. "Integrating the unofficial economy into the dynamics of post-socialist economies : a framework of analysis and evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1691, The World Bank.
  17. 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.
  18. Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Does Competition Destroy Ethical Behavior?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 414-418, May.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Engle, Robert F. & Lilien, David M. & Watson, Mark, 1985. "A dymimic model of housing price determination," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 307-326, June.
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