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Tax Evasion: Cheating Rationally or Deciding Emotionally?

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Author Info

  • Claude Montmarquette

    ()
    (CIRANO, University of Montreal, Montreal (Quebec), Canada)

  • Giorgio Coricelli

    ()
    (CNRS, Centre des Neurosciences Cognitives,Bron, F-69500, France)

  • Mateus Joffily

    ()
    (CNRS, Centre des Neurosciences Cognitives,Bron, F-69500, France)

  • Marie-Claire Villeval

    ()
    (University of Lyon, Lyon, F-69003, France; CNRS, UMR 5824, GATE, Ecully, F-69130, France; ENS LSH, Lyon, F-69007, France ; Centre Leon Berard, Lyon, F-69003, France)

Abstract

The economic models of tax compliance predict that individuals should evade taxes when the expected benefit of cheating is greater than its expected cost. When this condition is fulfilled, the high compliance however observed remains a puzzle. In this paper, we investigate the role of emotions as a possible explanation of tax compliance. Our laboratory experiment shows that emotional arousal, measured by Skin Conductance Responses, increases in the proportion of evaded taxes. The perspective of punishment after an audit, especially when the pictures of the evaders are publicly displayed, also raises emotions. We show that an audit policy that induces shame on the evaders favors compliance.

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File URL: ftp://ftp.gate.cnrs.fr/RePEc/2007/0724.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure in its series Working Papers with number 0724.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gat:wpaper:0724

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Related research

Keywords: emotions; experiment; neuro-economics; physiological measures; shame; tax evasion;

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References

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  1. Fortin, Bernard & Lacroix, Guy & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2004. "Tax Evasion and Social Interactions," IZA Discussion Papers 1359, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Luigi Bosco & Luigi Mittone, 1994. "Tax evasion and moral constraints: some experimental evidence," Department of Economics Working Papers 9402, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
  3. Alm, James & Cronshaw, Mark B & McKee, Michael, 1993. "Tax Compliance with Endogenous Audit Selection Rules," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(1), pages 27-45.
  4. Spicer, Michael W. & Thomas, J. Everett, 1982. "Audit probabilities and the tax evasion decision: An experimental approach," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 241-245, September.
  5. Torgler, Benno, 2002. " Speaking to Theorists and Searching for Facts: Tax Morale and Tax Compliance in Experiments," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(5), pages 657-83, December.
  6. Wenzel, Michael, 2004. "An analysis of norm processes in tax compliance," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 213-228, April.
  7. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1974. "Income tax evasion: A theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 201-202, May.
  8. Blumenthal, Marsha & Christian, Charles W. & Slemrod, Joel, 2001. "Do Normative Appeals Affect Tax Compliance? Evidence from a Controlled Experiment in Minnesota," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 1), pages 125-38, March.
  9. Ariel Rubinstein, 2006. "Instinctive and Cognitive Reasoning: A Study of Response Times," Working Papers 2006.36, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  10. 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.
  11. Ralph C Bayer & Matthias Sutter, 2004. "The excess burden of tax evasion - An experimental detection- concealment contest," Experimental 0412003, EconWPA.
  12. Ronald G. Cummings & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Michael McKee & Benno Torgler, 2007. "Effects of Tax Morale on Tax Compliance: Experimental and Survey Evidence," NCER Working Paper Series 12, National Centre for Econometric Research.
  13. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-61, November.
  14. Frank A. Cowell, 1990. "Cheating the Government: The Economics of Evasion," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262532484, December.
  15. Charness, Gary & Gneezy, Uri, 2003. "Portfolio Choice and Risk Attitudes: An Experiment," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt7vz7w609, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  16. 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.
  17. Benno Torgler, 2004. "Moral suasion: An alternative tax policy strategy? Evidence from a controlled field experiment in Switzerland," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 235-253, November.
  18. Myles, Gareth D. & Naylor, Robin A., 1996. "A model of tax evasion with group conformity and social customs," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 49-66, April.
  19. Andreoni, J. & Erard, B. & Feinstein, J., 1996. "Tax Compliance," Working papers 9610r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  20. Joel Slemrod, 2007. "Cheating Ourselves: The Economics of Tax Evasion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 25-48, Winter.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Cervellati, Matteo & Vanin, Paolo, 2013. "“Thou shalt not covet”: Prohibitions, temptation and moral values," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 15-28.
  2. Kai A. Konrad & Salmai Qari, 2012. "The Last Refuge of a Scoundrel? Patriotism and Tax Compliance," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 79(315), pages 516-533, 07.
  3. Konrad, Kai A. & Qari, Salmai, 2012. "The Last Refuge of a Scoundrel?," Munich Reprints in Economics 13960, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  4. Batrancea Larissa-Margareta & Nichita Ramona-Anca, 2012. "A Neuroeconomic Approach Of Tax Behavior," Annals of Faculty of Economics, University of Oradea, Faculty of Economics, vol. 1(1), pages 649-654, July.

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