IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Optimal inspection policy and income-tax compliance


  • Inés Macho Stadler

    () (Universidad Autonóma de Barcelona)

  • David Perez-Castrillo

    () (Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona)


In this paper, we present a review of the literature on optimal auditing of tax evasion and we fill some existing gaps with new results. The main contribution is to give a unified vision on the optimal audit policy when the Agency can pool the taxpayers as a function of the main activity they obtain the income from (because it determines their income distribution and their possibilities to evade), or as result of some additional information about them. We also study the consequences of the existence of a group of taxpayers who are characteristic since they are always honest.

Suggested Citation

  • Inés Macho Stadler & David Perez-Castrillo, 2005. "Optimal inspection policy and income-tax compliance," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 173(2), pages 9-45, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:hpe:journl:y:2005:v:173:i:2:p:9-45

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Macho-Stadler, Ines & Perez-Castrillo, J David, 2002. "Auditing with Signals," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 69(273), pages 1-20, February.
    2. Alm, James & Bahl, Roy & Murray, Matthew N, 1990. "Tax Structure and Tax Compliance," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(4), pages 603-613, November.
    3. Heyes, Anthony, 2002. "A Theory of Filtered Enforcement," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 34-46, January.
    4. Sanchez, Isabel & Sobel, Joel, 1993. "Hierarchical design and enforcement of income tax policies," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 345-369, March.
    5. Panayiota Lyssiotou & Panos Pashardes & Thanasis Stengos, 2004. "Estimates of the black economy based on consumer demand approaches," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 622-640, July.
    6. Perez-Castrillo, David & Riedinger, Nicolas, 2004. "Auditing cost overrun claims," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 267-285, June.
    7. Macho-Stadler, Ines & Perez-Castrillo, David, 2006. "Optimal enforcement policy and firms' emissions and compliance with environmental taxes," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 110-131, January.
    8. Kim C. Border & Joel Sobel, 1987. "Samurai Accountant: A Theory of Auditing and Plunder," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(4), pages 525-540.
    9. Luigi Alberto Franzoni, 2004. "Discretion in Tax Enforcement," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 71(283), pages 369-389, August.
    10. Dilip Mookherjee & Ivan Png, 1989. "Optimal Auditing, Insurance, and Redistribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(2), pages 399-415.
    11. Inés Macho-Stadler & David Pérez-Castrillo, 2004. "Settlement in Tax Evasion Prosecution," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 71(283), pages 349-368, August.
    12. James Andreoni & Brian Erard & Jonathan Feinstein, 1998. "Tax Compliance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 818-860, June.
    13. Ines Macho-Stadler & David Pérez-Castrillo, 2004. "Optimal Enforcement Policy and Firms’ Emissions and Compliance with Environmental Taxes," CESifo Working Paper Series 1193, CESifo Group Munich.
    14. Reinganum, Jennifer F. & Wilde, Louis L., 1985. "Income tax compliance in a principal-agent framework," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 1-18, February.
    15. Franckx, Laurent, 2002. "The Use of Ambient Inspections in Environmental Monitoring and Enforcement When the Inspection Agency Cannot Commit Itself to Announced Inspection Probabilities," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 71-92, January.
    16. Tanzi, Vito, 1999. "Uses and Abuses of Estimates of the Underground Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages 338-347, June.
    17. Graetz, Michael J & Reinganum, Jennifer F & Wilde, Louis L, 1986. "The Tax Compliance Game: Toward an Interactive Theory of Law Enforcement," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(1), pages 1-32, Spring.
    18. Franzoni, Luigi Alberto, 2000. "Amnesties, Settlements and Optimal Tax Enforcement," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 67(266), pages 153-176, May.
    19. George J. Stigler, 1974. "The Optimum Enforcement of Laws," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 55-67 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Macho-Stadler, Ines & Perez-Castrillo, J. David, 2001. "An Introduction to the Economics of Information: Incentives and Contracts," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 2, number 9780199243273.
    21. Brian Erard & Jonathan S. Feinstein, 1994. "Honesty and Evasion in the Tax Compliance Game," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(1), pages 1-19, Spring.
    22. Macho-Stadler, Ines & Perez-Castrillo, J David, 1997. "Optimal Auditing with Heterogeneous Income," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 38(4), pages 951-968, November.
    23. Chu, C. Y. Cyrus, 1990. "Plea bargaining with the irs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 319-333, April.
    24. Scotchmer, Suzanne, 1992. "The Regressive Bias in Tax Enforcement," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 47(Supplemen), pages 366-371.
    25. Parkash Chander & Louis L. Wilde, 1998. "A General Characterization of Optimal Income Tax Enforcement," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(1), pages 165-183.
    26. Pissarides, Christopher A. & Weber, Guglielmo, 1989. "An expenditure-based estimate of Britain's black economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 17-32, June.
    27. Sheffrin, S.M. & Triest, R.K., 1991. "Can Brute Deterrence Backfire? Perceptions and Attitudes in Taxpayer Compliance," Papers 373, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Tax evasion; optimal audit policy.;

    JEL classification:

    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hpe:journl:y:2005:v:173:i:2:p:9-45. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ana Belén Miquel Burgos). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.