To read this content please select one of the options below:

Estimating shadow economy in Tanzania: an analysis with the MIMIC approach

Roberto Dell’Anno (Department of Economics and Statistics, University of Salerno, Fisciano, Italy)
Adriana AnaMaria Davidescu (Department of Statistics and Econometrics, Bucharest University, Bucharest, Romania)
Nguling’wa Philip Balele (Department of Monetary and Financial Affairs, Bank of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)

Journal of Economic Studies

ISSN: 0144-3585

Article publication date: 8 January 2018




The purpose of this paper is to estimate the Tanzanian shadow economy (SE) from 2003 to 2015 and test the statistical relationships between the SE and its potential causes and indicators.


The econometric analysis is based on a multiple indicators multiple causes (MIMIC) model. To calibrate the SE from the estimates, the authors adopt the value of 55.4 percentage of the SE to official GDP from the literature for the base year 2005.


The SE ranges from 52 to 61 per cent of official GDP and slightly decreases from 2013 to 2015. Increase in inflation, unemployment and government spending were the main drivers of the SE dynamics.

Research limitations/implications

Given the challenges facing estimation of the SE (e.g. small sample size, exogenous estimate to calibrate the model, meaning of the latent variable), quantification of SE should be considered to be rough measures.

Practical implications

To lower the size of the SE, the government needs to keep inflation and unemployment stable over time, to reduce government spending because it creates pressure on tax collection due to the limited tax base.


This is the first study specifically focused on Tanzanian SE based on the MIMIC approach. Existing estimates of Tanzanian SE are calculated by monetary models or apply a common MIMIC specification to the worldwide context.



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the authors and do not represent the opinions of their institutions.


Dell’Anno, R., Davidescu, A.A. and Balele, N.P. (2018), "Estimating shadow economy in Tanzania: an analysis with the MIMIC approach", Journal of Economic Studies, Vol. 45 No. 1, pp. 100-113.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles