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Hide and seek: IMF intervention and the shadow economy

Michael Chletsos and Andreas Sintos

Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, 2021, vol. 59, issue C, 292-319

Abstract: By explicating the mechanisms through which International Monetary Fund (IMF) programs operate, this study investigates the effect of IMF intervention on the shadow economy. Using a sample of 141 countries from 1991 to 2014, we examine the impact of both IMF participation and conditionality on the informal economy. Our analyses address sources of endogeneity related to, first, the IMF participation decision and, second, the conditions included within the program. The empirical findings suggest that both IMF program participation and conditionality increase the size of the shadow economy. Disaggregating IMF conditions into structural and quantitative shows that only structural conditions are significantly related to a larger shadow economy both in the short- and long-term. Financial development can reduce the size of the shadow economy, yet it cannot reverse the detrimental effect of IMF conditions. Our initial results are found to be robust across alternative empirical specifications.

Keywords: Shadow economy; IMF programs; Conditionality; Structural adjustment; World sample (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F33 F34 F53 O17 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.strueco.2021.09.008

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