Tax Rates and Tax Evasion: Evidence from "Missing Imports" in China
AbstractTax evasion, by its very nature, is difficult to observe. In this paper, we present a case study of tax evasion in China. The novel feature of our approach is that at a very disaggregated level of individual products, we can measure evasion relatively precisely, by comparing the values that China reports as imports from Hong Kong, with what Hong Kong reports as exports to China. We can match up this evasion gap' with the tariff (and VAT tax) schedule at the product level. The result is striking: using the data in 1998, we find that on average, a 1 percent increase in the tax rate results in a 3 percent increase in evasion; these results hold using data from 1998. The result is similar when a first-difference specification is used with data in 1997 and 1998. This relationship is nonlinear: the evasion elasticity is larger at high tax levels. Furthermore, the evasion gap is negatively correlated with the tax rates on closely related products, suggesting that part of the evasion takes place by mis-reporting the type of imports, in addition to under-reporting the value of imports. This effect is even more pronounced when the evasion gap is measured using quantities rather than values.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8551.
Date of creation: Oct 2001
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Fisman, Raymond and Shang-Jin Wei. "Tax Rates And Tax Evasion: Evidence From 'Missing Imports' In China," Journal of Political Economy, 2004, v112(2,Apr), 471-496.
Note: ITI PE
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
- Raymond Fisman & Shang-Jin Wei, 2004. "Tax Rates and Tax Evasion: Evidence from "Missing Imports" in China," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 471-500, April.
- Fisman, Raymond & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2001. "Tax Rates and Tax Evasion: Evidence from 'Missing Imports' in China," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 3089, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2001-10-22 (All new papers)
- NEP-PBE-2001-10-22 (Public Economics)
- NEP-PUB-2001-10-22 (Public Finance)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Kimberly A. Clausing, 1998. "The Impact of Transfer Pricing on Intrafirm Trade," NBER Working Papers 6688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Slemrod, Joel & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 2002.
"Tax avoidance, evasion, and administration,"
Handbook of Public Economics, Elsevier,
in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 22, pages 1423-1470
- Jean-Thomas Bernard & Robert J. Weiner, 1989.
"Multinational Corporations, Transfer Prices, and Taxes: Evidence from the U.S. Petroleum Industry,"
NBER Working Papers
3013, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jean-Thomas Bernard & Robert Weiner, 1990. "Multinational Corporations, Transfer Prices, and Taxes: Evidence from the U.S.Petroleum Industry," NBER Chapters, in: Taxation in the Global Economy, pages 123-160 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Bernard, J-T. & Weiner, R.J., 1988. "Multinational Corporations, Transfer Prices, And Taxes: Evidence From The U.S. Petroleum Industry," Papers, Laval - Recherche en Energie 8822, Laval - Recherche en Energie.
- Andreoni, J. & Erard, B. & Feinstein, J., 1996.
Working papers, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems
9610, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
- James Andreoni & Brian Erard & Jonathan Feinstein, 1998. "Tax Compliance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 818-860, June.
- Andreoni, J. & Erard, B. & Feinstein, J., 1996. "Tax Compliance," Working papers, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems 9610r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
- Allingham, Michael G. & Sandmo, Agnar, 1972. "Income tax evasion: a theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 323-338, November.
- Jonathan S. Feinstein, 1991. "An Econometric Analysis of Income Tax Evasion and its Detection," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(1), pages 14-35, Spring.
- Assaf Razin & Joel Slemrod, 1990. "Taxation in the Global Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number razi90-1, July.
- Gordon H. Hanson & Robert C. Feenstra, 2000. "Aggregation Bias in the Factor Content of Trade: Evidence from U.S. Manufacturing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 155-160, May.
- Edgar L. Feige, 2004. "How Big IS the Irregular Economy?," Macroeconomics, EconWPA 0404005, EconWPA.
- Clotfelter, Charles T, 1983. "Tax Evasion and Tax Rates: An Analysis of Individual Returns," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(3), pages 363-73, August.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.