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Minimum Wage and Tax Evasion: Theory and Evidence


  • Mirco Tonin



The paper investigates the role of the minimum wage in a competi- tive economy in which there is underreporting of earnings by employed labour. The minimum wage induces higher compliance by some low- productivity workers and transforms a nominally neutral ?scal system into a regressive one. A spike in the wage distribution at the mini- mum wage level appears and a positive correlation between the size of the spike and the size of the informal economy is predicted and documented using cross-country data for Europe. A further result is that employees whose o?? cially declared earnings appear to be boosted by a minimum wage hike actually experience a decline in their true income. This prediction ?nds support in an empirical test using the massive increase in the minimum wage that took place in Hungary in 2001 as a quasi-natural experiment.

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  • Mirco Tonin, 2007. "Minimum Wage and Tax Evasion: Theory and Evidence," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp865, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  • Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2007-865

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    More about this item


    MinimumWage; Tax Evasion; Wage Distribution; Hungary;

    JEL classification:

    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm
    • P2 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies

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