Shadow Economies Around the World: What Did We Learn Over the Last 20 Years?

77 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2018 Last revised: 21 Mar 2018

See all articles by Leandro Medina

Leandro Medina

George Washington University - Department of Economics; International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Western Hemisphere Department

Friedrich Schneider

Johannes Kepler University Linz - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Date Written: January 2018

Abstract

We undertake an extended discussion of the latest developments about the existing and new estimation methods of the shadow economy. New results on the shadow economy for 158 countries all over the world are presented over 1991 to 2015. Strengths and weaknesses of these methods are assessed and a critical comparison and evaluation of the methods is carried out. The average size of the shadow economy of the 158 countries over 1991 to 2015 is 31.9 percent. The largest ones are Zimbabwe with 60.6 percent, and Bolivia with 62.3 percent of GDP. The lowest ones are Austria with 8.9 percent, and Switzerland with 7.2 percent. The new methods, especially the new macro method, Currency Demand Approach (CDA) and Multiple Indicators Multiple Causes (MIMIC) in a structured hybrid-model based estimation procedure, are promising approaches from an econometric standpoint, alongside some new micro estimates. These estimations come quite close to others used by statistical offices or based on surveys.

Keywords: Shadow economy, Tax evasion, informal economy, survey, multiple indicators multiple Causes (MIMIC), comparison of different estimation methods, the light intensity approach, predictive mean matching (PMM), Other, Model Construction and Estimation, Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data, Structure and Scope of Government

JEL Classification: C39, C51, C82, H11, H26

Suggested Citation

Medina, Leandro and Schneider, Friedrich G., Shadow Economies Around the World: What Did We Learn Over the Last 20 Years? (January 2018). IMF Working Paper No. 18/17. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3124402

Leandro Medina (Contact Author)

George Washington University - Department of Economics ( email )

Monroe Hall, Suite 340
2115 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052
United States

International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Western Hemisphere Department

700 19th Street NW
Washington, DC 20431
United States

Friedrich G. Schneider

Johannes Kepler University Linz - Department of Economics ( email )

Altenbergerstrasse 69
A-4040 Linz, 4040
Austria
+43 732 2468 8210 (Phone)
+43 732 2468 8208 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.CESifo.de

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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