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Tax evasion and social information: an experiment in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands

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  • Mathieu Lefebvre

    ()

  • Pierre Pestieau

    ()

  • Arno Riedl

    ()

  • Marie Villeval

    ()

Abstract

We experimentally study how receiving information about tax compliance of others affects individuals’ occupational choices and subsequent evading decisions. In one treatment individuals receive information about the highest tax evasion rates of others in past experimental sessions with no such social information; in another treatment they receive information about the lowest tax evasion rates observed in the past sessions with no such social information. We observe an asymmetric effect of social information on tax compliance. Whereas examples of high compliance do not have any disciplining effect, we find evidence that examples of low compliance significantly increase tax evasion for certain audit probabilities. No major differences are found across countries. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Mathieu Lefebvre & Pierre Pestieau & Arno Riedl & Marie Villeval, 2015. "Tax evasion and social information: an experiment in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 22(3), pages 401-425, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:22:y:2015:i:3:p:401-425
    DOI: 10.1007/s10797-014-9318-z
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    Cited by:

    1. Christoph Engel, 2016. "Experimental Criminal Law. A Survey of Contributions from Law, Economics and Criminology," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2016_07, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    2. Bernd Irlenbusch & David J. Saxler, 2015. "Social responsibility in market interaction," Cologne Graduate School Working Paper Series 06-05, Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences.
    3. Amadou Boly & Robert Gillanders & Topi Miettinen, 2016. "Deterrence, peer effect, and legitimacy in anti-corruption policy-making: An experimental analysis," WIDER Working Paper Series 137, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Philipp Doerrenberg & Jan Schmitz, 2017. "Tax compliance and information provision. A field experiment with small firms," Journal of Behavioral Economics for Policy, Society for the Advancement of Behavioral Economics (SABE), vol. 1(1), pages 47-54, February.
    5. Irlenbusch, Bernd & Saxler, David, 2015. "Social Responsibility in Market Interaction," IZA Discussion Papers 9240, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Yoshio Kamijo & Takehito Masuda & Hiroshi Uemura, 2015. "Who is audited? Experimental study on rule-based and human tax auditing schemes," Working Papers SDES-2015-9, Kochi University of Technology, School of Economics and Management, revised Jan 2015.
    7. Aurélie Bonein & Cécile Bazart, 2017. "The Strength of the Symbol: Are we Willing to Punish Evaders ?," Working Papers 17-02, LAMETA, Universitiy of Montpellier.
    8. Dimant, Eugen, 2015. "On Peer Effects: Behavioral Contagion of (Un)Ethical Behavior and the Role of Social Identity," MPRA Paper 68732, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Blaufus, Kay & Bob, Jonathan & Otto, Philipp E., 2014. "The effect of tax privacy on tax compliance: An experimental investigation," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 164, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    10. Alessandro Bucciol & Simona Cicognani & Natalia Montinari, 2017. "Cheating in Academia: The Relevance of Social Factors," Working Papers 15/2017, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
    11. Bernd Irlenbusch & Marie Claire Villeval, 2015. "Behavioral ethics: how psychology influenced economics and how economics might inform psychology?," Post-Print halshs-01159696, HAL.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tax evasion; Social interactions; Peer effects ; Cross-country comparisons; Experiments; H26; D83; C91;

    JEL classification:

    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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