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Tax Evasion, Welfare Fraud, and "The Broken Windows" Effect: An Experiment in Belgium, France and the Netherlands

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Author Info

  • Mathieu Lefebvre

    (CREPP - Center of Research in Public Economics and Population Economics - Université de Liège)

  • Pierre Pestieau

    (CORE - Center of Operation Research and Econometrics [Louvain] - Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) - Belgique, CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA), EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris)

  • Arno Riedl

    (The Maastricht University School of Business and Economics - University Of Maastricht)

  • Marie Claire Villeval

    ()
    (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - CNRS : UMR5824 - Université Lumière - Lyon II - École Normale Supérieure (ENS) - Lyon - PRES Université de Lyon - Université Jean Monnet - Saint-Etienne - Université Claude Bernard - Lyon I (UCBL))

Abstract

In a series of experiments conducted in Belgium (Wallonia and Flanders), France and the Netherlands, we compare behavior regarding tax evasion and welfare dodging, with and without information about others' behavior. Subjects have to decide between a "registered" income, the realization of which will be known to the tax authority for sure, and an "unregistered" income that will only be known with some probability. This unregistered income comes from self-employment in the Tax treatment and from black labor supplementing some unemployment compensation in the Welfare treatment. Subjects have then to decide on wether reporting their income or not, knowing the risk od detection. The results show that (i) individuals evade more in the Welfare treatment than in the Tax treatment ; (ii) many subjects choose and option that allows for tax evasion or welfare fraud but report their income honestly anyway ; (iii) examples of low compliance tend to increase tax evasion while examples of high compliance exert no influence ; (iv) tax evasion is more frequent in France and the Netherlands ; Wallons evade taxes less than Flemish. There is no cross-country difference in welfare dodging.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE Working Papers with number halshs-00948296.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00948296

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Keywords: tax evasion ; social fraud ; social comparisons ; cross-country comparisons ; experiments;

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  25. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521814089 is not listed on IDEAS
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Cited by:
  1. Cécile Bazart & Aurélie Bonein, 2012. "Reciprocal Relationships in Tax Compliance Decisions," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 201239, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
  2. Roland Benabou & Jean Tirole, 2011. "Laws and Norms," NBER Working Papers 17579, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Cettolin Elena & Riedl Arno, 2011. "Partial coercion, conditional cooperation, and self-commitment in voluntary contributions to public goods," Research Memorandum 041, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).

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