In this paper, the main focus lies on the informal economy and on work in the shadow. The most influential factors on the informal economy are tax policies and state regulation. The size of the informal economy was decreasing over the period 1999 to 2007, from 34.0% to 31.2% for 161 countries (unweighted average). Furthermore, economic opportunities, taxes and regulations, the general situation on the labor market, and unemployment are crucial for an understanding of the dynamics of the shadow labor force. In contrast with the decrease of the informal economy (value added figures), the informal economy labor force increased for most countries over the period 1999 to 2007.
The main goal of our paper is to determine the existence of a link between government (military) expenditures and the shadow economy in the Central and Eastern European countries, which are the members of the European Union. The empirical investigation is conducted for the years 2003–2015. We show that there is a high statistically significant positive dependence between the size of the shadow economy and military expenditures in the Baltic States. Our conclusion is that higher military expenditures indeed lead to a larger shadow economy and this result is robust to different model specifications. In order to demonstrate the importance of our results, we undertook a simulation, where we calculated how much the size of the shadow economy would increase if the size of military expenditure as a percentage of GDP were to double. For example, in the Czech Republic, such an expansion would have led to an increase in the size of the shadow economy from 11.50% to 12.96%, and in Estonia, from 18.34% to 22.72% in 2012.