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SIZE OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR, ECONOMIC GROWTH AND THE INFORMAL ECONOMY: DEVELOPMENT TRENDS IN THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY*

Hans-Georg Petersen ()

Review of Income and Wealth, 1982, vol. 28, issue 2, 191-215

Abstract: The growth of the public sector in the post‐war period and the consequences of this development for economic growth is a strongly disputed subject of economic theory and policy. In this paper the development trends of state activities in the case of the Federal Republic of Germany are presented. The structure of public expenditures as well as the tax structure are taken into consideration and possible impacts on real economic growth are analysed. The negative correlations between some kinds of public expenditures (or taxes) and the growth rate of real GNP should not be taken in proof of the growth‐retarding effects which might ensue from increasing state activities. It seems to be more likely that state activities have induced shifts of resources from the formal into the informal economy. Politicians should be aware that some measures of economic policy conventionally proposed will strengthen the movement into the informal economy, thus intensifying the current problems within the public budgets as well as in the social security system.

Date: 1982
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