The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Ben Kelmanson, Koralai Kirabaeva, Leandro Medina, Borislava Mircheva, and Jason Weiss
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
This paper examines the drivers, and reestimates the size of shadow economies in Europe, with a focus on the emerging economies, and recommends policies to increase formality. The size of shadow economies declined across Europe in recent years but remains significant, especially in Eastern Europe. In the emerging European economies, the key determinants of shadow economy size are regulatory quality, government effectiveness, and human capital. The paper argues that a comprehensive package of reforms, focused on country-specific drivers, is needed to successfully combat the shadow economy. The menu of policies most relevant for Europe's emerging economies include: reducing regulatory and administrative burdens, promoting transparency and improving government effectiveness, as well as improving tax compliance, automating procedures, and promoting electronic payments.