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Taxman's Dilemma: Coercion or Persuasion? Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment in Ethiopia

Author

Listed:
  • Abebe Shimeles
  • Daniel Zerfu Gurara
  • Firew Woldeyes

Abstract

We analyze data from a randomized controlled trial of two innovative anti-tax evasion schemes in Ethiopia that signal threats of audit and complimentary messages that encourage tax morale. Our results indicate that the threat of audit reduces tax evasion significantly, and its effect is higher in businesses commonly suspected of high tax evasion rates. We also find that appealing to the tax morale promotes compliance but slightly less than that of audit threat. Our results are robust to different estimation strategies and less sensitive to potential confounding factors.

Suggested Citation

  • Abebe Shimeles & Daniel Zerfu Gurara & Firew Woldeyes, 2017. "Taxman's Dilemma: Coercion or Persuasion? Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment in Ethiopia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 420-424, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:5:p:420-24
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.p20171141
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Biddle, Nicholas & Fels, Katja & Sinning, Mathias, 2017. "Behavioral Insights and Business Taxation: Evidence from Two Randomized Controlled Trials," IZA Discussion Papers 10795, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Asatryan, Zareh & Peichl, Andreas, 2016. "Responses of firms to tax, administrative and accounting rules: Evidence from Armenia," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-065, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • K34 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Tax Law
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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