Emilio Colombo, Davide Furceri, Pietro Pizzuto, and Patrizio Tirelli
This paper investigates the role of informality in affecting the magnitude of the fiscal multiplier in a panel of 141 countries, using the local projections method. We find a strong negative relationship between the degree of informality and the size of the fiscal multiplier. This result holds irrespective of the levels of economic development and institutional quality and is robust to additional country characteristics such as trade, financial openness and exchange rate regime. In a two-sector new- Keynesian model, we rationalize this result by showing that fiscal shocks raise the relative price of official goods, shifting demand towards the informal sector. This reallocation effect increases with the level of informality, because a larger informal sector is associated with a stronger appreciation of relative prices in response to fiscal shocks. Thus, informality raises the size of the unofficial multiplier. A higher degree of non-separability between public and private goods also contributes to rationalize the lower multipliers in high-informality countries.
It is generally difficult to measure revenue not collected due to noncompliance, but a growing number of countries now regularly produce and publish estimated revenue losses. Good tax gap analysis enables the detection of changes in taxpayer behavior by consistent estimates over time. This Technical Note sets out the theoretical concepts for personal income tax (PIT) gap estimation, the different measurement approaches available, and their implications for the scope and presentation of statistics. The note also focuses on the practical steps for measuring the PIT gap by establishing a random audit program to collect data, and how to scale findings from the sample to the population.