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Shadow Economies All over the World: New Estimates for 162 Countries from 1999 to 2007

By Friedrich Schneider, Andreas Buehn and Claudio E. Montenegro

Abstract

This paper presents estimations of the shadow economies for 162 countries, including developing Eastern European, Central Asian, and high-income countries over the period 1999 to 2006/2007. According to the estimations, the average size of the shadow economy (as a percentage of "official" gross domestic product) in 2006 in 98 developing countries is 38.7 percent; in 21 Eastern European and Central Asian (mostly transition) countries, it is 38.1 percent, and in 25 high-income countries, it is 18.7 percent. The authors find that the driving forces of the shadow economy are an increased burden of taxation (both direct and indirect), combined with labor market regulations and the quality of public goods and services, as well as the state of the “official” economy.shadow economy of 162 countries, tax burden, quality of state institutions, regulation, MIMIC and other estimation methods.

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