Каталог статей из сборников научных конференций и научных журналов- The shadow economy in Russia: causes and consequences

VII международная научно-практическая конференция
Социально-экономические проблемы современного общества

The shadow economy in Russia: causes and consequences

I. N. Tkachenko Candidate of Pedagogical Sciences, assistant professor,

V. P. Zhuravleva student,

Rostov State Economic University (RINH),

Rostov-on-Don, Russia


Any economic system is an intertwining of legitimate and illegal shadow economic activities. Researches of the problems of the shadow economy are especially actualized during the periods of transformations and crises that characterize the modern Russian economy.

The shadow economy is an aggregate of illegal economic activities, which include concealment of income, non-payment of taxes, smuggling, drug business, fictitious financial transactions – everything that contradicts legislation. Accordingly, there are three main structural elements or major unit in the system of shadow economic activities.

Firstly, it is the informal economy, which includes all legally permitted types of business activities related to the production of goods and services, but not recorded in official statistics. In this case, income recipients hide them from taxation. Secondly, an important place is occupied by such a zone of the shadow economy as a fictitious economy characterized by additions, thefts, speculative deals, bribery and various types of fraud related with the receipt and transfer of money. Currently, fictitious economy includes activities aimed at obtaining unreasonable benefits and benefits by business entities on the basis of organized corruption links.

Thirdly, it is so-called underground economy. It is understood as illegal business directions, such as illegal production and marketing of products and services, production of weapons, drugs, smuggling, maintenance of brothels and other activities of persons who do not have the legal right to engage in this type of activity.

As for the reasons of the functioning of economic entities in the sphere of the shadow economy, they can be divided into economic, social and legal [1].

Economic reasons are:

1.             High taxes. This factor is one of the most significant, it stimulates the growth of the shadow economy [3, с. 56].

2.             The crisis of the financial system. The shadow sector intensifies during times of crisis, when the state can not regulate all economic phenomena and create suitable conditions for entrepreneurs [3, с. 389].

3.             Significant scale of the state sector in the economy. The activity of the public sector in the economy is primarily related with the allocation of budgetary resources [1]. But these funds are often used for other purposes.

4.             Imperfection of the privatization process.

5.             Activities of unregistered economic structures.

Social reasons are:

1. Low living standards of the population.

2. High unemployment rate. The unemployed part of the population is oriented to receiving income in any way, including through illegal employment.

And, finally, legal reasons:

1. Imperfection of legislation.

2. Insufficient activity of law enforcement agencies to curb illegal criminal economic activity.

3. Imperfection of the mechanism of coordination of activities to combat economic crime [3, с. 382–384].

The scale of the shadow economy is almost impossible to determine accurately. There are various methods for measuring the shadow economy. So, the monetarist method is based on the assumption that in the shadow economy, settlements are conducted exclusively in cash, mainly by large bills. Therefore, indicators of the growth of the shadow economy can be considered an increase in the share of cash in the monetary unit M2 and the share of banknotes with a high denomination in the total amount of money circulation.

The Italian method is aimed at comparing the value of the declared income with the volume of purchases of goods and the receipt of paid services on a country or region scale, as well as individuals.

The method of technological coefficients is to compare the data on the dynamics of electricity consumption and information on the production of goods provided to the authorities. In Russia in the 1990s, the declared production of goods and services declined by more than 40 %, and electricity consumption - by only 25 %, which indirectly indicated the growth of the shadow sector.

The influence of the shadow economy on socio-economic development is ambiguous and contradictory. On the one hand, the shadow economy leads to negative social and economic consequences, on the other hand, it creates additional jobs, reducing the level of actual unemployment, and forms a reserve of economic growth in the future. In general, among the negative consequences of the spread of the shadow economy can be identified economic, social and legal.

Economic: decrease in the collection of taxes, violation of competition, deformation of the economic structure, growth of investment risks, degradation of scientific and technological development, increased costs for security and protection, lowering the effectiveness of macroeconomic policies, etc.

Social consequences include: the degradation of the social sphere, a reduction in the financing of social programs, a reduction in the incomes of the majority of the population, property differentiation of the population, the growth of social tension, etc.

As for the negative political phenomena generated by the shadow economy, they are connected with the strengthening of the resource provision of corruption, the increased role of "shadow structures" in political life, and the growing threat of economic and political isolation of the country.

In Russia, measures are being taken to create suitable conditions for legal business activities:

• reduction of administrative barriers,

• establishing an acceptable level of taxation [2, с. 61],

• compliance by economic agents with contractual obligations,

• guaranteeing private property, introducing a number of benefits for small businesses.

Thus, attempts are being made in Russia to create a favorable climate for the transition of the shadow economy into a legal economy. That is why it is important in what proportions the ratio of the net economy to the shadow economy will be respected, the future economic development of Russia depends on this.


  1. Бекряшев А.К. Теневая экономика и экономическая преступность / А.К. Бекряшев, И.П. Белозеров, Н.С. Бекряшева [Электронный ресурс]. – Режим доступа: http://finance-credit.news/ekonomicheskie-voprosyiobschiie/rossiya.html
  2. Казначеева Н.Л. Прогрессивная шкала налога на доходы физических лиц: преимущества и недостатки / Н.Л. Казначеева, Д.Е. Лапов // Вестник финансового университета. – 2015. – №1 (85). – С. 54–63.
  3. Колесова Т.Л. Наблюдения за динамикой инфляции в России // Мы продолжаем традиции российской статистики. Матер. I Открытого российского статистического конгресса. – 2015. – С. 378–389.
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