Natural resources and the underground economy: A cross-country study in ASEAN using Bayesian approach

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Technická Univerzita v Liberci
Technical university of Liberec, Czech Republic
The development of the underground economy can significantly affect a country’s economic indicators. Although there have been different studies on this phenomenon, many aspects of underground activities remain incompletely defined. Therefore, the current research aims to supplement the existing literature by analyzing the link between abundant natural resources and the scope of the underground economy. To accomplish this objective, we collected panel data from ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries during the period 1991–2018. We then employed the Bayesian regression estimator to look into the influence of natural resources wealth on the scope of the underground sector. We found that the former can negatively and strongly affect the latter in ASEAN countries. That is, natural resources might be a blessing rather than a curse for economic growth and development in these countries. Other variables were found to have a strong positive relationship with the underground economy, like trade openness, tax burden, size of government, corruption, and the global financial crisis. Meanwhile, GDP growth, urbanization, and political stability had a strong negative effect on the size of the underground economy. These findings provide some implications for the governments of ASEAN countries to perform appropriate measures to control the underground economy.
Natural resources, underground economy, Bayesian approach, ASEAN