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Prospect Theory and Tax Evasion: A Reconsideration of the Yitzhaki Puzzle

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  • Piolatto, Amedeo

    ()
    (Barcelona Institute of Economics)

  • Rablen, Matthew D.

    ()
    (Brunel University)

Abstract

The standard expected utility model of tax evasion predicts that evasion is decreasing in the marginal tax rate (the Yitzhaki puzzle). The existing literature disagrees on whether prospect theory overturns the puzzle. We disentangle four distinct elements of prospect theory and find loss aversion and probability weighting to be redundant in respect of the puzzle. Prospect theory fails to reverse the puzzle for various classes of endogenous specification of the reference level. These classes include, as special cases, the most common specifications in the literature. New specifications of the reference level are needed, we conclude.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7760.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2013
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Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7760

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Keywords: prospect theory; tax evasion; Yitzhaki puzzle; stigma; diminishing sensitivity; reference dependence; endogenous audit probability; endogenous reference level;

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References

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As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Prospect theory and tax evasion: a reconsideration of the Yitzhaki Puzzl
    by Alessandro Cerboni in Knowledge Team on 2013-09-21 16:08:21

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