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Australia's Cash Economy: Are the estimates credible?

Author

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  • Trevor Breusch

    (Australian National University)

Abstract

The method of "excess sensitivity" of Bajada (1999, 2001, 2002) indicates a large underground economy in Australia, with estimates of unrecorded income around 15 per cent of official GDP. These estimates concern policymakers, especially those agencies responsible for national accounts, tax collection, economic stabilization and law enforcement. We show that the method exhibits a severe form of non-robustness, in which the results change markedly with a simple change in the units of measurement of the variables. There is a separate problem in which a key parameter is set to an unrealistic value that makes the estimates many times too high.

Suggested Citation

  • Trevor Breusch, 2005. "Australia's Cash Economy: Are the estimates credible?," Macroeconomics 0509025, EconWPA, revised 23 Sep 2005.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:0509025
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 19
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    File URL: http://econwpa.repec.org/eps/mac/papers/0509/0509025.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Christopher Bajada, 2003. "Business Cycle Properties of the Legitimate and Underground Economy in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 79(247), pages 397-411, December.
    2. Bajada, Christopher, 1999. "Estimates of the Underground Economy in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 75(231), pages 369-384, December.
    3. Rolf Mirus & Roger S. Smith & Vladimir Karoleff, 1994. "Canada's Underground Economy Revisited: Update and Critique," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 20(3), pages 235-252, September.
    4. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gemmell, Norman & Hasseldine, John, 2012. "The Tax Gap: A Methodological Review," Working Paper Series 2435, Victoria University of Wellington, Chair in Public Finance.
    2. Guerino Ardizzi & Carmelo Petraglia & Massimiliano Piacenza & Gilberto Turati, 2014. "Measuring the Underground Economy with the Currency Demand Approach: A Reinterpretation of the Methodology, With an Application to Italy," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(4), pages 747-772, December.
    3. Trevor Breusch, 2005. "Estimating the Underground Economy using MIMIC Models," Econometrics 0507003, EconWPA, revised 15 Dec 2005.
    4. Ahumada, Hildegart & Alvaredo, Facundo & Canavese, Alfredo, 2008. "The monetary method to measure the shadow economy: The forgotten problem of the initial conditions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(2), pages 97-99, November.
    5. Luisanna Onnis & Patrizio Tirelli, 2011. "Institutions, policies and economic development. What are the causes of the shadow economy?," Working Papers 206, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2011.
    6. Michael Pickhardt & Jordi Sarda, 2011. "The size of the underground economy in Germany: a correction of the record and new evidence from the modified-cash-deposit-ratio approach," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 143-163, August.
    7. Ahumada, Hildegart & Alvaredo, Facundo & Canavese, Alfredo J., 2006. "The Demand for Currency Approach and the Size of the Shadow Economy: A Critical Assessment," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt6zn9p98b, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
    8. Michael Pickhardt & Jordi Sardà, 2015. "Size and causes of the underground economy in Spain: a correction of the record and new evidence from the MCDR approach," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 403-429, April.
    9. Michael Pickhardt & Aloys Prinz, 2012. "The Nature of Tax Evasion and the Shadow Economy," Chapters,in: Tax Evasion and the Shadow Economy, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    underground economy; currency demand; tax evasion; econometric models;

    JEL classification:

    • C51 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Construction and Estimation
    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance

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