Feige, Edgar L. (2009): New estimates of overseas U.S. currency holdings, the Underground economy and the "Tax Gap". Forthcoming in: Crime , Law and Social Change (2011)
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Despite financial innovations that have created important new substitutes for cash usage, per capita holdings of U.S. currency amount to $2950. Yet American households and businesses admit to holding only 15 percent of the currency stock, leaving the whereabouts of 85 percent unknown. Some fraction of this unaccounted for currency is held abroad (the dollarization hypothesis) and some is held domestically undeclared, as a store of value and a medium of exchange for transactions involving the production and distribution of illegal goods and services, and for transactions earning income that is not reported to the IRS (the underground economy hypothesis). We find that the percentage of U.S. currency currently held overseas is between 30-37 percent rather than the widely cited figure of 65 percent. This finding is based on the official Federal Reserve/Bureau of Economic Analysis data which is a proxy measure of the New York Federal Reserve’s (NYB) “confidential” data on wholesale currency shipments abroad. We recommend that the NYB data be aggregated so as to circumvent confidentiality concerns, and be made readily available in order to shed greater light on the question of how much U.S. currency is abroad while providing important information on the location of overseas U.S. dollars. The newly revised official estimates of overseas currency holdings are employed to determine the Federal Reserve’s seigniorage earnings from 1964-2010, which have provided a $185 billion windfall for U.S. taxpayers. Overseas currency stock data are also used to derive estimates of the domestically held stock of currency as well as narrow and broad measures of domestic monetary aggregates. These domestic monetary aggregates are believed to be better predictors of future economic activity than traditional monetary aggregates and are tested to determine their ability to predict fluctuations in real output and prices. Domestic cash holdings are finally used to estimate the size of the U.S. fiscal underground economy as measured by the amount of income that is not properly reported to the IRS. By 2010, “unreported income” approached $2 trillion, implying a “tax gap” in the range of $430- $475 billion. Currently, we estimate that 18-19 percent of total reportable income is not properly reported to the IRS.
|Item Type:||MPRA Paper|
|Original Title:||New estimates of overseas U.S. currency holdings, the Underground economy and the "Tax Gap"|
|Keywords:||Overseas currency, currency abroad, underground economy; unreported economy; tax gap; tax evasion; cash payments; monetary aggregates; output; inflation; cash|
|Subjects:||O - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O17 - Formal and Informal Sectors ; Shadow Economy ; Institutional Arrangements
E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics > E5 - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit > E51 - Money Supply ; Credit ; Money Multipliers
E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics > E5 - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit > E52 - Monetary Policy
E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics > E2 - Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy > E26 - Informal Economy ; Underground Economy
E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics > E4 - Money and Interest Rates > E41 - Demand for Money
H - Public Economics > H2 - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue > H26 - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
|Depositing User:||Edgar L. Feige|
|Date Deposited:||24. Apr 2011 05:02|
|Last Modified:||20. Dec 2014 17:54|
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New estimates of overseas U.S. currency holdings, the Underground economy and the "Tax Gap". (deposited 25. Dec 2009 10:28)
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