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Tax Evasion: Cheating Rationally or Deciding Emotionally?

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Author Info

  • Giorgio Coricelli

    (ISC - Institut des Sciences Cognitives - CNRS : UMR5015 - Université Claude Bernard - Lyon I)

  • Matteus Joffily

    (ISC - Institut des Sciences Cognitives - CNRS : UMR5015 - Université Claude Bernard - Lyon I)

  • Claude Montmarquette

    (Université de Montréal - Département de Sciences Economique - Université de Montréal)

  • Marie-Claire Villeval

    (GATE - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - CNRS : UMR5824 - Université Lumière - Lyon II - Ecole Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines)

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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number hal-00196332.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00196332

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Related research

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

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  1. Wenzel, Michael, 2004. "An analysis of norm processes in tax compliance," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 213-228, April.
  2. Benno Torgler, 2004. "Moral Suasion: An alternative tax policy strategy? Evidence from a controlled field experiment in Switzerland," CREMA Working Paper Series 2004-01, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  3. Cummings, Ronald G. & Martinez-Vazquez, Jorge & McKee, Michael & Torgler, Benno, 2006. "Effects of Tax Morale on Tax Compliance: Experimental and Survey Evidence," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt8sh2w9fp, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  4. Ariel Rubinstein, 2007. "Instinctive and Cognitive Reasoning: A Study of Response Times," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(523), pages 1243-1259, October.
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  6. Ralph-C Bayer & Matthias Sutter, 2003. "The excess burden of tax evasion – An experimental detection-concealment contest," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2003-28, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  7. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1974. "Income tax evasion: A theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 201-202, May.
  8. Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2004. "Tax Evasion and Social Interactions," CIRANO Working Papers 2004s-61, CIRANO.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Gary Charness & Uri Gneezy, 2010. "Portfolio Choice And Risk Attitudes: An Experiment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(1), pages 133-146, 01.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  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. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Joel Slemrod, 2007. "Cheating Ourselves: The Economics of Tax Evasion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 25-48, Winter.
  19. Alm, James & Cronshaw, Mark B & McKee, Michael, 1993. "Tax Compliance with Endogenous Audit Selection Rules," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(1), pages 27-45.
  20. 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.
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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," IZA Discussion Papers 7334, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Konrad, Kai A. & Qari, Salmai, 2009. "The Last Refuge of a Scoundrel? Patriotism and Tax Compliance," IZA Discussion Papers 4121, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  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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