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Corporate Tax Evasion with Agency Costs

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  • Keith J. Crocker
  • Joel Slemrod

Abstract

This paper examines corporate tax evasion in the context of the contractual relationship between the shareholders of a firm and a tax manager who possesses private information regarding the extent of legally permissible reductions in taxable income, and who may also undertake illegal tax evasion. Using a costly state falsification framework, we characterize formally the optimal incentive compensation contract for the tax manager and, in particular, how the form of that contract changes in response to alternative enforcement policies imposed by the taxing authority. The optimal contract may adjust to offset, at least partially, the effect of sanctions against illegal evasion, and we find a new and policy-relevant non-equivalence result: penalties imposed on the tax manager are more effective in reducing evasion than are those imposed on shareholders.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10690.

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Date of creation: Aug 2004
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Publication status: published as Crocker, Keith J. and Joel Slemrod. "Corporate Tax Evasion With Agency Costs," Journal of Public Economics, 2005, v89(9-10,Sep), 1593-1610.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10690

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  1. 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.
  2. Guesnerie, Roger & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1984. "A complete solution to a class of principal-agent problems with an application to the control of a self-managed firm," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 329-369, December.
  3. Townsend, Robert M., 1979. "Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 265-293, October.
  4. Frank A Cowell, 2003. "Sticks and Carrots," STICERD - Distributional Analysis Research Programme Papers 68, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  5. Joel Slemrod, 2001. "A General Model of the Behavioral Response to Taxation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 119-128, March.
  6. Myerson, Roger B, 1979. "Incentive Compatibility and the Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 61-73, January.
  7. Lacker, J.M., 1989. "Optimal Contracts Under Costly State Falsification," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 956, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  8. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
  9. Bengt Holmstrom, 1979. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 74-91, Spring.
  10. Keith J. Crocker & John Morgan, 1998. "Is Honesty the Best Policy? Curtailing Insurance Fraud through Optimal Incentive Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 355-375, April.
  11. Polinsky, A. Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1993. "Should employees be subject to fines and imprisonment given the existence of corporate liability?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 239-257, September.
  12. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, December.
  13. Lee, Kangoh, 1998. "Tax Evasion, Monopoly, and Nonneutral Profit Taxes," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(n. 2), pages 333-38, June.
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