Shadow Economy: Estimation Methods, Problems, Results and Open questions

Authors:
Friedrich Schneider / Andreas Buehn
Published Online: 2017-05-16

Abstract

This paper presents various methods used for estimating the size of the shadow economy. Each method is evaluated and its strengths and weaknesses are discussed, as well as results each method yields. The purpose of the paper is threefold: Firstly, to demonstrate that there is no single infallible method for estimating the size and development of the shadow economy and results can differ significantly between different approaches. The MIMIC approach, discussed in greater detail, is often used due to its flexibility. Secondly, the paper discusses the very definition of the shadow economy and factors contributing to its growth. Finally, latest estimations of the size of the shadow economies of 143 countries over the period 1996 to 2014 are presented.

Keywords: shadow economy estimatesMIMIC approachmethods to estimate the shadow economyadvantages and disadvantages of the methodsMIMIC-methodcalibration procedurelight intensity approach


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