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Tax Avoidance, Endogenous Social Norms, and the Comparison Income Effect

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  • Alessandro Balestrino

Abstract

We present a model of income tax avoidance with heterogeneous agents, assuming the presence of a comparison income effect and of a psychic cost (disutility) of tax dodging. We analyse the policy preferences of the agents, and identify a median-voter political equilibrium. Paralleling previous results in the optimal taxation literature, we show that the comparison income effect calls for a high degree of progressivity of the income tax; additionally, we find that this tendence is strengthened by the psychic cost of avoidance. We then model the endogenous formation of the stigma attached to the act of avoidance as a "conformism game". We argue that such stigma is motivated by the desire to make redistribution more effective, and that it is enhanced by the income comparison effect.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1758.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1758

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Keywords: tax avoidance; social norms; conformism; comparison income; median voter;

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References

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  1. Lindbeck, Assar & Nyberg, Sten & Weibull, Jörgen W., 1997. "Social Norms and Economic Incentives in the Welfare State," Working Paper Series 476, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  2. Joel Slemrod, 1998. "A General Model of the Behavioral Response to Taxation," NBER Working Papers 6582, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  24. Dan Anderberg & Alessandro Balestrino & Umberto Galmarini, 2003. "Search and Taxation in a Model of Underground Economic Activities," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(4), pages 647-659, October.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Laszlo Goerke, 2013. "Relative Consumption and Tax Evasion," IAAEU Discussion Papers 201301, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).
  2. Alessandro Balestrino, 2012. "Taxes, Status Goods, and Piracy," CESifo Working Paper Series 3704, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Heijdra, B.J. & Ligthart, J.E., 2005. "Fiscal Policy, Monopolistic Competition and Finite Lives," Discussion Paper 2005-126, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  4. Micheletto, Luca, 2009. "Optimal nonlinear redistributive taxation and public good provision in an economy with Veblen effects," Working Paper Series 2009:3, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  5. Vasilev, Aleksandar, 2013. "Fiscal Policy in a Real-Business-Cycle Model with Labor-intensive Government Services and Endogenous Public Sector Wages and Hours," SIRE Discussion Papers 2013-82, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  6. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2010. "Tax Morale, Tax Evasion, and the Shadow Economy," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2010 2010-17, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.

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