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Tax Evasion and the Source of Income

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  • Klarita G�rxhani

    ()
    (Faculty of Economics and Econometrics, University of Amsterdam)

  • Arthur Schram

    ()
    (Faculty of Economics and Econometrics, University of Amsterdam)

Abstract

A series of experiments in Albania and the Netherlands give us the opportunity to compare behavioral patterns related to tax evasion. Subjects have to decide between a random 'registered' income, the realization of which will be known to the experimenter for sure, and a random 'unregistered' income that will only be known to the experimenter with some (audit) probability. After the actual income has been determined, subjects have to report it and pay taxes accordingly. If they are audited, there is a fine for underreporting. This experiment was organized (separately) among high school pupils, high school teachers, university students, university teachers and university (non-academic) staff, in Albania and the Netherlands. The results show that (i) when tax evasion is possible, subject choose unregistered income more frequently; (ii) many subjects are willing to choose an income that allows for tax evasion but report their income honestly anyway; (iii) compliance increases with the audit probability; (iv) individual decisions to choose a type of income (registered vs. unregistered) and to evade taxes are made simultaneously; (v) Albanians evade taxes less than the Dutch do; (vi) pupils and students evade taxes more than teachers and personnel do; (vii) the differences across groups within a country are at least as large as the differences between the two countries. Finally, we argue that the distinct levels of tax evasion outside of the laboratory in the two countries are not attributable to different tax attitudes or cultures, but to different tax institutions and the way individuals have learned to deal with them.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 02-098/1.

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Date of creation: 07 Oct 2002
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20020098

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Web page: http://www.tinbergen.nl

Related research

Keywords: Tax evasion; Cross-country studies; Experiments.;

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References

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  1. Jordi Brandts & Tatsuyoshi Saijo & Arthur Schram, 2004. "How Universal is Behavior? A Four Country Comparison of Spite and Cooperation in Voluntary Contribution Mechanisms," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 119(3_4), pages 381-424, 06.
  2. Baldry, J. C., 1986. "Tax evasion is not a gamble : A report on two experiments," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 333-335.
  3. Schram, Arthur, 2000. " Sorting Out the Seeking: The Economics of Individual Motivations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 103(3-4), pages 231-58, June.
  4. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  5. Friedland, Nehemiah & Maital, Shlomo & Rutenberg, Aryeh, 1978. "A simulation study of income tax evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 107-116, August.
  6. Dominik H. Enste & Friedrich Schneider, 2000. "Shadow Economies: Size, Causes, and Consequences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 77-114, March.
  7. R. Isaac & James Walker & Susan Thomas, 1984. "Divergent evidence on free riding: An experimental examination of possible explanations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 113-149, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Alm, James & Cherry, Todd & Jones, Michael & McKee, Michael, 2010. "Taxpayer information assistance services and tax compliance behavior," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 577-586, August.
  2. Sandra Sookram & Friedrich G. Schneider & Patrick Kent Watson, 2006. "Characteristics of the household sector of the hidden economy in an emerging economy," Economics working papers 2006-05, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  3. Benno Torgler, 2003. "Beyond Punishment: a tax compliance experiment with taxpayers in Costa Rica," Revista de Analisis Economico – Economic Analysis Review, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines, vol. 18(1), pages 27-56, June.
  4. James Alm & Todd Cherry & Michael McKee & Michael L. Jones, 2010. "Investigating Behavioral Responses to Positive Inducements for Filing Tax Returns," Working Papers 10-11, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.

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