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Does the underground economy hold back financial deepening? Evidence from the Italian credit market

Gobbi, Giorgio and Zizza, Roberta (2007) Does the underground economy hold back financial deepening? Evidence from the Italian credit market. CEPDP, 789. Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK. ISBN 9780853281658

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Abstract

The paper investigates the relationship between underground activities and financial deepening. The access to external finance requires entrepreneurs to disclose credible information through formal documentation. This requirement may be impossible to oblige to for many informal producers who lack a proper book-keeping of their operations. For the same reason irregular workers may find difficult to borrow for financing both consumption and housing purchase. Using panel data on Italian regional credit markets we find a strong negative impact of the share of irregular employment on outstanding credit to the private sector. According to our estimates a shift of 1 per cent of the employees from regular activities to irregular ones corresponds to a decline of about 2 percentage points in the volume of business lending and of 0.3 percentage points in outstanding credit to households, both expressed as ratios to GDP. Conversely, the feedback effects from financial deepening to the size of the informal sector are weak and statistically not significant. Through a difference-in-difference approach exploiting the regularisation program for immigrant workers launched in 2002 we also identify a negative effect of the irregular labour on banks’ entry decisions in the local credit markets, now defined in terms of provinces.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk
Additional Information: © 2007 the authors
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HG Finance
Journal of Economic Literature Classification System: R - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics > R2 - Household Analysis > R23 - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O17 - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements: Legal, Social, Economic, and Political
G - Financial Economics > G2 - Financial Institutions and Services > G21 - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
Sets: Collections > Economists Online
Research centres and groups > Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Identification Number: 789
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2008 11:22
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/19731/

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