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[–] thewake 0 points 3 points (+3|-0) ago 

The freakonomics blog cited the economists Ceyhun Elgin and Oguz Oztunali back in 2012 as claiming "shadow economies account for 22.67 percent of world GDP, with a generally downward trend that seems to have been interrupted by the global recession". Apparently the black market accounts for more income in poorer countries, and less income in richer ones.

http://freakonomics.com/2012/06/25/how-big-is-the-world-black-market/

If the numbers I'm citing are right, they may or may not contradict the idea that 1/2 of the world's workers are in the underground economy, but it doesn't make sense for the number of workers in it to be growing if the black market is shrinking.