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Shadow economy and air pollution in developing Asia: what is the role of fiscal policy?

Cong Minh Huynh ()

Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, 2020, vol. 22, issue 3, No 2, 357-381

Abstract: Abstract Asian developing countries face challenges of serious air pollution and large shadow economy. Fiscal policy is anticipated as a solution to cope with these obstacles. This paper empirically examines the impact of shadow economy on air pollution and the role of fiscal policy in moderating the impact through the two tools of government expenditure and taxation in 22 Asian developing countries during 2002–2015. The estimation results from the fixed effects and the system generalized method of moments show that air pollution is positively affected by the shadow economy; and expansionary fiscal policy can reduce air pollution through abating shadow economy, and can lessen the detrimental effect of shadow economy on the environmental quality. Specifically, the increase in government expenditure reduces the positive effect of shadow economy on air pollution, but a tax-hike intensifies it. It is also found a stronger negative impact of government expenditure, compared to positive impact of taxation, and a dominant impact of shadow economy on air pollution. The findings imply that policy-makers can use appropriate fiscal policies to control air pollution and to reduce the destructive effect of the informal economy on the environmental quality in developing countries. Especially, governments in developing countries should allocate more budgets on environmental projects in their fiscal reforms for the sake of moving to greener and more inclusive economies with low-carbon activities.

Keywords: Asia; Fiscal policy; Air pollution; Shadow economy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E62 O17 Q53 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s10018-019-00260-8

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Handle: RePEc:spr:envpol:v:22:y:2020:i:3:d:10.1007_s10018-019-00260-8