Social programs as positive inducements for tax participation
AbstractA significant amount of non-compliance with the personal income tax is due to individuals who have not filed a tax return and so who are not “in the system”. We use experimental laboratory methods to examine the effect of positive inducements for filing a tax return. Our design captures the essential features of a voluntary income reporting and tax assessment system: human participants earn income, they must decide whether to file a tax return, and, conditional upon filing, they must choose how much income to report. Taxes are paid on reported income only. Unreported income of filers may be discovered via a random audit, and the participant then pays owed taxes plus a fine. Inducements for filing are introduced as treatments: a social safety net (e.g., unemployment replacement income) that is conditional upon past filing behavior, and a tax credit that is available only to those who file. Our results suggest that an untargeted tax credit can encourage participation, but that targeting the credit to low income earners offers a stronger inducement to file. Also, the provision of a social safety net via unemployment benefits has a positive, albeit an indirect, impact on participation.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.
Volume (Year): 84 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo
Tax evasion; Tax compliance; Behavioral economics; Experimental economics;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion
- C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Scholz, John Karl, 1994. "The Earned Income Credit: Participation, Compliance, and Antipoverty Effectiveness," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(1), pages 63-87, March Cit.
- Gary S. Becker, 1974.
"Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach,"
in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Erard, Brian & Ho, Chih-Chin, 2001. "Searching for ghosts: who are the nonfilers and how much tax do they owe?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 25-50, July.
- Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
- Smith, Vernon L, 1982. "Microeconomic Systems as an Experimental Science," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 923-55, December.
- Wojciech Kopczuk & Cristian Pop-Eleches, 2005.
"Electronic Filing, Tax Preparers, and Participation in the Earned Income Tax Credit,"
NBER Working Papers
11768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kopczuk, Wojciech & Pop-Eleches, Cristian, 2007. "Electronic filing, tax preparers and participation in the Earned Income Tax Credit," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1351-1367, August.
- Becker, Winfried & Buchner, Heinz-Jurgen & Sleeking, Simon, 1987. "The impact of public transfer expenditures on tax evasion : An experimental approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 243-252, November.
- Brian Erard & Chih-Chin Ho, 1999. "Searching for Ghosts: Who Are the Nonfilers nd How Much Tax Do They Owe?," Carleton Economic Papers 99-11, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2001.
- James Alm, 2012.
"Measuring, Explaining, and Controlling Tax Evasion: Lessons from Theory, Experiments, and Field Studies,"
1213, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
- James Alm, 2012. "Measuring, explaining, and controlling tax evasion: lessons from theory, experiments, and field studies," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 54-77, February.
- Cherry, Todd L. & Shogren, Jason F., 2008. "Self-interest, sympathy and the origin of endowments," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(1), pages 69-72, October.
- Allingham, Michael G. & Sandmo, Agnar, 1972. "Income tax evasion: a theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 323-338, November.
- C. Cadsby & Elizabeth Maynes & Viswanath Trivedi, 2006. "Tax compliance and obedience to authority at home and in the lab: A new experimental approach," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 343-359, December.
- Frank A. Cowell, 1990. "Cheating the Government: The Economics of Evasion," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262532484, January.
- Joel Slemrod & Shlomo Yitzhaki, 2000.
"Tax Avoidance, Evasion, and Administration,"
NBER Working Papers
7473, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Alm, James & Bahl, Roy & Murray, Matthew N, 1991. "Tax Base Erosion in Developing Countries," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(4), pages 849-72, July.
- Andreoni, J. & Erard, B. & Feinstein, J., 1996.
9610, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
- Alm, James & McKee, Michael J. & Beck, William, 1990. "Amazing Grace: Tax Amnesties and Compliance," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 43(1), pages 23-37, March Cit.
- Alm, James & Jackson, Betty R. & McKee, Michael, 1993. "Fiscal exchange, collective decision institutions, and tax compliance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 285-303, December.
- Alm, James & McClelland, Gary H. & Schulze, William D., 1992. "Why do people pay taxes?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 21-38, June.
- Kim Bloomquist, 2011. "Tax Compliance as an Evolutionary Coordination Game: An Agent-Based Approach," Public Finance Review, , vol. 39(1), pages 25-49, January.
- Bernasconi, Michele, 1998. "Tax evasion and orders of risk aversion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 123-134, January.
- Cummings, Ronald G. & Martinez-Vazquez, Jorge & McKee, Michael & Torgler, Benno, 2009. "Tax morale affects tax compliance: Evidence from surveys and an artefactual field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 447-457, June.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.