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Tax avoidance, endogenous social norms, and the comparison income effect

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  • Alessandro Balestrino

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Abstract

We analyse a model of income tax avoidance with heterogenous agents; we assume the presence of a comparison income e¤ect and of a psychic cost (disutility) of tax dodging. In this context, we show two sets of results. First, we study the policy preferences of the agents, and identify a median-agent political equilibrium. Paralleling previous ?ndings in the optimal taxation literature, we show that the comparison income e¤ect calls for a high degree of progressivity of the income tax; additionally, we ?nd that this tendence is strenghtened by the psychic cost of avoidance. Second, we model the endogenous formation of the stigma attached to the act of avoidance as a "conformism game", and propose a "modal-agent social equilibrium". We also argue that, in general, the stigma is motivated by the desire to make redistribution more e¤ective, as well as by the need to facilitate social competition.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY in its series CHILD Working Papers with number wp15_09.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2009
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Handle: RePEc:wpc:wplist:wp15_09

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Keywords: tax avoidance; social norms; conformism; comparison income; median voter;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Goerke, Laszlo, 2013. "Relative consumption and tax evasion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 52-65.
  2. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2010. "Tax Morale, Tax Evasion, and the Shadow Economy," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2010 2010-17, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  3. Aleksandar Vasilev, 2013. "Fiscal policy in a Real-Business-Cycle model with labor-intensive government services and endogenous public sector wages and hours," Working Papers 2013_18, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  4. Heijdra, Ben J. & Ligthart, Jenny E., 2007. "Fiscal policy, monopolistic competition, and finite lives," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 325-359, January.
  5. Alessandro Balestrino, 2012. "Taxes, Status Goods, and Piracy," CESifo Working Paper Series 3704, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Micheletto, Luca, 2009. "Optimal nonlinear redistributive taxation and public good provision in an economy with Veblen effects," Working Paper Series 2009:3, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.

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