Factors of the Shadow Economy in Market and Transition Economies during the Post-Crisis Period: is there a Difference?
Keywords:shadow economy, market economy, former command economy, global economic crisis, PLS-SEM model
The shadow economy (SE) is a global phenomenon that affects every country. However, its forms and mechanisms may differ depending on a country's socio-economic characteristics. The major characteristic is a country’s economic system. Hence, market and transition economies can be affected differently. Given that the size of the SE directly affects the level of tax revenue, it is particularly important to investigate the factors of the SE during the post-crisis period, when policymakers need sufficient budgetary funds to implement anti-crisis measures. In that sense, this paper aims to identify the differences in the factors that boosted the SE in 17 market and 19 transition economies in Europe between 2009-2014. The research is based on the PLS-SEM method. A country’s wealth and development, market openness, tax system and political environment are employed as the major SE factors. These factors are the most common in previous literature when investigating the issues of the shadow economy and are most appropriate for this research. The results suggest that particular factors of the SE differently affect market and transition economies. In transition economies, a favourable political environment, greater wealth and development, as well as a lower tax burden contribute to a smaller size of the SE, whereas greater market openness and a higher tax burden lead to a larger size of the SE. The links between market openness, tax system and the SE are not, however, statistically significant. Like transition economies, market economies are characterized by the positive impact of political environment and wealth and development when combating the SE. Unlike in transition economies, the size of the SE in market economies is reduced by a high tax burden and greater market openness. In the latter case, there is only one statistically insignificant path coefficient – it represents the relationship between the SE and market openness. The Multi-Group Analysis (MGA) method was employed to compare the path coefficients estimated for the country groups under consideration. The results indicate that the only difference in the path coefficients representing the relationship between market openness and the SE is not statistically significant. Based on the research results, some recommendations for policymakers in transition and market economies are provided in the conclusion.