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The tax evasion social multiplier: Evidence from Italy

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  • Galbiati, Roberto
  • Zanella, Giulio

Abstract

We estimate social externalities of tax evasion in a model where congestion of the auditing resources of local tax authorities generates a social multiplier. Identification is based on a contrast of the variance of tax evasion at different levels of aggregation. We use a unique data set that contains audits of about 80,000 small businesses and professionals in Italy and also provides an exact measure of reference groups in our model. We find a social multiplier of about 3, which means that the equilibrium response to a shock that induces an exogenous variation in mean concealed income is about 3 times the initial average response. This is a short-run effect that persists to the extent that auditing resources are not adjusted to internalize the congestion externality.

Suggested Citation

  • Galbiati, Roberto & Zanella, Giulio, 2012. "The tax evasion social multiplier: Evidence from Italy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(5), pages 485-494.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:96:y:2012:i:5:p:485-494
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2012.01.003
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social interactions; Neighborhood effects; Social multiplier; Tax evasion; Tax compliance; Excess variance;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • Z19 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Other

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