The Underground Economy: Global Evidence of Its Size and Impact

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As a natural extension of its interest in the ways in which the private sector reacts to the activities of government, The Fraser Institute has long studied the underground economy. In pursuing this research, the Institute assembled a roster of experts in Vancouver in April 1994. They included government officials, accountants, economists, lawyers, federal police, politicians, and public policy analysts from Canada, the United States, Britain, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Russia, and Hong Kong.

The papers prepared for this meeting, as subsequently revised by the authors, constitute a unique collection of information about the underground economy and how it is manifested in a variety of countries. The purpose of this book is to collect these research findings to make them available to those who are interested in how this fascinating and increasingly prevalent segment of economic activity operates.

Section One collects papers that deal particularly with the underground economy in Canada. Section Two outlines a perspective of the UGE which is not often encountered, specifically, the view of law enforcement officials. Section Three contains seven papers that analyze the underground economy in different countries and from different perspectives. Those who have an interest in the underground economy will be impressed by the diversity of experience in the countries discussed-from the United States and Britain to Mexico, Peru, and Chile, through to Russia and China. The fourth and final section of the book consists of two papers by two eminent Canadian economists-Jonathan R. Kesselman and Francois Vaillancourt. The focus, once again, the Canadian economy and some policy implications of the UGE.

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