An agent-based model of network effects on tax compliance and evasion
Agent-based models are flexible analytical tools suitable for exploring and understanding complex systems such as tax compliance and evasion. The agent-based model created in this research builds upon two other agent-based models of tax evasion, the Korobow, Johnson, and Axtell (2007) and Hokamp and Pickhardt (2010) models. The model utilizes their rules for taxpayer behavior and apprehension of tax evaders in order to test the effects of network topologies in the propagation of evasive behavior. Findings include that network structures have a significant impact on the dynamics of tax compliance, demonstrating that taxpayers are more likely to declare all their income in networks with higher levels of centrality across the agents, especially when faced with large penalties proportional to their incomes. These results suggest that network structures should be chosen selectively when modeling tax compliance, as different topologies yield different results. Additionally, this research analyzed the special case of a power law distribution and found that targeting highly interconnected individuals resulted in a lower mean gross tax rate than targeting disconnected individuals, due to the penalties inflating the mean gross tax rate in the latter case.
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