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The Optimal Size of a Tax Collection Agency

  • Slemrod, Joel
  • Yitzhaki, Shlomo

The condition that characterizes the optimal size of a tax-collection agency is der ived and then given a simple interpretation in terms of excess burden This paper clarifies an earlier finding of A. Sandmo (1981) which s uggests that the optimal degree of enforcement is higher than a simpl e cost-benefit calculation would indicate. The appropriate condition is that, at the margin, the resource cost of increasing enforcement s hould equal the saving of excess burden due to the decline in exposur e to risk. The increased revenue gained from stricter enforcement doe s not enter the expression because it merely represents a transfer am ong the economy's identical agents. Copyright 1987 by The editors of the Scandinavian Journal of Economics.

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Scandinavian Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 89 (1987)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 183-92

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Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:89:y:1987:i:2:p:183-92
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  1. Christiansen, Vidar, 1980. "Two Comments on Tax Evasion," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 389-93, June.
  2. Christiansen, Vidar, 1980. "Two comments on tax evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 389-393, June.
  3. Weiss, Laurence, 1976. "The Desirability of Cheating Incentives and Randomness in the Optimal Income Tax," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(6), pages 1343-52, December.
  4. Sandmo, Agnar, 1981. "Income tax evasion, labour supply, and the equity--efficiency tradeoff," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 265-288, December.
  5. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1982. "Utilitarianism and horizontal equity : The case for random taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 1-33, June.
  6. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1974. "Income tax evasion: A theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 201-202, May.
  7. 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.
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