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Rewards Versus Penalties: on a New Policy against Tax Evasion


  • Josef Falkinger

    (Institut fur Volkswirtschaftslehre, Johannes-Kepler-Universitat Linz)

  • Herbert Walther

    (Institut für Wirtschaftstheorie und -politik, Wirtschaftsuniversitat Wien)


The theoretical analysis of tax evasion has typically concentrated on the role of Abstract penalties and on the probability of being investigated and penalized. This article introduces into the standard model of tax evasion the possibility of pecuniary rewards as an economic incentive for taxpaying. The analysis shows that introducing a reward for payment of taxes leads to a welfare improvement over non-prohibitive penalty regimes. An optimal penalty-reward mix is derived that guarantees a certain tax yield for the government and, at the same time, maximizes the taxpayer's utility.

Suggested Citation

  • Josef Falkinger & Herbert Walther, 1991. "Rewards Versus Penalties: on a New Policy against Tax Evasion," Public Finance Review, , vol. 19(1), pages 67-79, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:pubfin:v:19:y:1991:i:1:p:67-79

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lawrence B. Lindsey, 1987. "Capital Gains Rates, Realizations, and Revenues," NBER Chapters,in: The Effects of Taxation on Capital Accumulation, pages 69-100 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. repec:mes:challe:v:31:y:1988:i:4:p:56-58 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Tan, Lin Mei, 1999. "Taxpayers' preference for type of advice from tax practitioner: A preliminary examination," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 431-447, August.
    2. Sascha Hokamp & Götz Seibold, 2014. "Tax Compliance and Public Goods Provision. An Agent-based Econophysics Approach," Central European Journal of Economic Modelling and Econometrics, CEJEME, vol. 6(4), pages 217-236, December.
    3. M. Fabbri & P. N. Barbieri & M. Bigoni, 2016. "Ride Your Luck! A Field Experiment on Lottery-based Incentives for Compliance," Working Papers wp1089, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    4. Cécile Bazart & Michael Pickhardt, 2009. "Fighting Income Tax Evasion with Positive Rewards: Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 09-01, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Jun 2009.
    5. Lars P. Feld & Bruno S. Frey & Benno Torgler, 2006. "Rewarding Honest Taxpayers? Evidence on the Impact of Rewards from Field Experiments," CREMA Working Paper Series 2006-16, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    6. Pickhardt, Michael & Prinz, Aloys, 2014. "Behavioral dynamics of tax evasion – A survey," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 1-19.
    7. Kastlunger, Barbara & Kirchler, Erich & Mittone, Luigi & Pitters, Julia, 2009. "Sequences of audits, tax compliance, and taxpaying strategies," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 405-418, June.
    8. Lars P. Feld & Bruno S. Frey, 2006. "Tax Compliance as the Result of a Psychological Tax Contract: The Role of Incentives and Responsive Regulation," CREMA Working Paper Series 2006-10, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    9. Dr Ken Devos, 2013. "Do Penalties And Enforcement Measures Make Taxpayers More Compliant? The View Of Australian Tax Evaders," Far East Journal of Psychology and Business, Far East Research Centre, vol. 12(1), pages 1-9, July.
    10. Lars P. Feld & Bruno S. Frey, 2007. "Tax Evasion, Tax Amnesties and the Psychological Tax Contract," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0729, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    11. Yuki Yano & David Blandford, 2009. "Use of Compliance Rewards in Agri-environmental Schemes," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 530-545.
    12. William F. Fox & Matthew N. Murray, 2014. "Taxing the small: Fostering tax compliance among small enterprises in developing countries," Chapters,in: Taxation and Development: The Weakest Link?, chapter 6, pages 170-192 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    13. James, Simon & Alley, Clinton, 2002. "Tax compliance, self-assessment and tax administration," MPRA Paper 26906, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Park, Chang-Gyun & Hyun, Jin Kwon, 2003. "Examining the determinants of tax compliance by experimental data: a case of Korea," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 25(8), pages 673-684, November.
    15. James, Simon & Edwards, Alison, 2010. "An annotated bibliography of tax compliance and tax compliance costs," MPRA Paper 26106, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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