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Official Regulations and the Shadow Economy: A Labour Market Approach

  • Maxim Bouev

    ()

This work revisits the role of regulations in emergence o f the shadow economy. In particular, it supplements the previous theoretical research that mainly ignored the fact that the decision to “go underground” is essentially a result of both employers and employees interacting in the labour market. We adapt a job search approach (see, e.g. Acemoglu 2001) to model a transitional economy with an informal sector. We apply and develop the idea first documented inter alia by Loayaza (1996) that there are two types of regulations that influence the size of the informal labour market through two different channels. Red tape and bureaucratic extortion (bribing) make starting a new business officially a not very attractive option and can lead new firms to the informal sector. On the other hand, taxes and redundancy pay make official firms offer lower wages which drives potential employees away into underground jobs. Depending on various combinations of policy parameters equilibria with different share of the informal economy are possible. The paper draws conclusions regarding the role of unemployment benefits in reducing the size of the informal economy. Policy implications are offered.

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File URL: http://www.wdi.umich.edu/files/Publications/WorkingPapers/wp524.pdf
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Paper provided by William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan in its series William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series with number 524.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: 01 Dec 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2002-524
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  1. Daron Acemoglu & Robert Shimer, 1999. "Efficient Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(5), pages 893-928, October.
  2. Kolev, Alexandre, 1998. "Labour Supply in the Informal Economy in Russia during Transition," CEPR Discussion Papers 2024, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Daron Acemoglu, 1993. "Reward Structures and the Allocation of Talent," CEP Discussion Papers dp0143, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Sarte, Pierre-Daniel G., 2000. "Informality and rent-seeking bureaucracies in a model of long-run growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 173-197, August.
  5. Fugazza, Marco & Jacques, Jean-Francois, 2004. "Labor market institutions, taxation and the underground economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1-2), pages 395-418, January.
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  8. 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.
  9. Acemoglu, D. & Verdier, T., 1996. "Property Rights, Corruption and the Allocation of Talent: A General Equilibrium Approach," DELTA Working Papers 96-12, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  10. Nash, John, 1950. "The Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 18(2), pages 155-162, April.
  11. Frye, Timothy & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2000. "Rackets, Regulation, and the Rule of Law," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 478-502, October.
  12. R. Hirschowitz, 1989. "The Other Path: The Invisible Revolution in the Third World," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 57(4), pages 266-272, December.
  13. Joshua Aizenman & Pierre-Richard Agénor, 1994. "Macroeconomic Adjustment with Segmented Labor Markets," IMF Working Papers 94/56, International Monetary Fund.
  14. Acemoglu, Daron & Shimer, Robert, 1999. "Holdups and Efficiency with Search Frictions," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(4), pages 827-49, November.
  15. Acemoglu, Daron, 2001. "Good Jobs versus Bad Jobs," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 1-21, January.
  16. P. Diamond, 1980. "Mobility Costs, Frictional Unemployment and Efficiency," Working papers 257, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  17. 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.
  18. Friedrich Schneider & Christopher Bajada, 2003. "The Size and Development of the Shadow Economies in the Asia-Pacific," Economics working papers 2003-01, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  19. Simon Johnson & Daniel Kaufmann & John McMillan & Christopher Woodruff, 2003. "Why Do Firms Hide? Bribes and Unofficial Activity after Communism," Public Economics 0308004, EconWPA.
  20. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, June.
  21. Tito Boeri & Pietro Garibaldi, . "Shadow Activity and Unemployment in a Depressed Labor Market," Working Papers 177, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  22. Acemoglu, Daron & Shimer, Robert, 2000. "Wage and Technology Dispersion," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(4), pages 585-607, October.
  23. 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.
  24. Murphy, Kevin M & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1993. "Why Is Rent-Seeking So Costly to Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 409-14, May.
  25. Fortin, Bernard & Marceau, Nicolas & Savard, Luc, 1997. "Taxation, wage controls and the informal sector," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 293-312, November.
  26. Safavian, Mehnaz S. & Graham, Douglas H. & Gonzalez-Vega, Claudio, 2001. "Corruption and Microenterprises in Russia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(7), pages 1215-1224, July.
  27. Loayza, Norman V., 1996. "The economics of the informal sector: a simple model and some empirical evidence from Latin America," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 129-162, December.
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