(In)Effective tax enforcement and demand for cash

Fausto Hernández y Daniel Ventosa-Santaulària, Profesores Investigadores Titulares de la División de Economía del CIDE, junto con Arturo Antón, escribieron el artículo (In)Effective tax enforcement and demand for cash en el Journal of Macroeconomics.



Cash holdings have increased worldwide in recent years. It is well known that a higher tax burden is typically an important factor in explaining an increase in cash holdings. However, the role of tax enforcement is less known. To explore the effect of tax enforcement on cash holdings, we study fiscal reform carried out in a large, developing country. In mid-2013, Mexico tried to raise tax revenues by enrolling more taxpayers and introducing electronic invoices to counter a secondary market in illegal invoices. Based on a transaction-based model of money demand, we find an ambiguous effect of tougher tax enforcement on money holdings. If institutions are ineffective, the model predicts an increase in cash holdings after tougher enforcement. To test this issue empirically, we propose a vector error correction (VEC) specification for money demand. The results suggest that a tax enforcement policy implemented under a weak institutional framework can exacerbate cash holdings.


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