Business cycle properties of the legitimate and underground economy in Australia

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Journal Article
Economic Record, 2003, 79 (247), pp. 397 - 411
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The business cycle characteristics of the legitimate economy have been examined quite extensively. In this paper we extend the standard business cycle analysis to the underground economy and compare it to the legitimate economy. Using National Bureau of Economic Research dating methodologies we find that classical cycles exhibit strong incidence of asymmetry while growth cycles appear relatively symmetric. We find that changes in legitimate activity lead to changes in underground activity but that the underground economy responds more to negative shocks in legitimate activity than to positive shocks. This implies that the underground economy is deepening economic downturns and increasing the volatility of the business cycle in general.
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