IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/ucp/jpolec/v117y2009i3p504-554.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Myth and Reality of Flat Tax Reform: Micro Estimates of Tax Evasion Response and Welfare Effects in Russia

Author

Listed:
  • Yuriy Gorodnichenko
  • Jorge Martinez-Vazquez
  • Klara Sabirianova Peter

Abstract

We examine the effects of Russia's 2001 flat rate income tax reform on consumption, income, and tax evasion. We use the gap between household expenditures and reported earnings as a proxy for tax evasion with data from a household panel for 1998-2004. We associate large and significant changes in tax evasion following the flat tax reform with changes in voluntary compliance. We develop a consumption-based framework to assess the deadweight loss from income tax in the presence of tax evasion and show that the efficiency gains from the reform are at least 30 percent smaller than the gains implied by conventional approaches. (c) 2009 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

Suggested Citation

  • Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Klara Sabirianova Peter, 2009. "Myth and Reality of Flat Tax Reform: Micro Estimates of Tax Evasion Response and Welfare Effects in Russia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(3), pages 504-554, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:117:y:2009:i:3:p:504-554
    DOI: 10.1086/599760
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/599760
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1086/599760?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gruber, Jon & Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "The elasticity of taxable income: evidence and implications," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-32, April.
    2. 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.
    3. Richard Blundell & Martin Browning & Costas Meghir, 1994. "Consumer Demand and the Life-Cycle Allocation of Household Expenditures," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(1), pages 57-80.
    4. Jonathan S. Feinstein, 1991. "An Econometric Analysis of Income Tax Evasion and its Detection," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(1), pages 14-35, Spring.
    5. Wojciech Kopczuk & Joseph P. Lupton, 2007. "To Leave or Not to Leave: The Distribution of Bequest Motives," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(1), pages 207-235.
    6. Steven Haider & Gary Solon, 2006. "Life-Cycle Variation in the Association between Current and Lifetime Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1308-1320, September.
    7. Laitner, John & Juster, F Thomas, 1996. "New Evidence on Altruism: A Study of TIAA-CREF Retirees," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 893-908, September.
    8. Anna Ivanova & Michael Keen & Alexander Klemm, 2005. "The Russian ‘flat tax’ reform [‘Income tax evasion: A theoretical analysis’]," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 20(43), pages 398-444.
    9. Slemrod, Joel & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 2002. "Tax avoidance, evasion, and administration," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 22, pages 1423-1470, Elsevier.
    10. Hubbard, R Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1995. "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 360-399, April.
    11. James Andreoni & Brian Erard & Jonathan Feinstein, 1998. "Tax Compliance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 818-860, June.
    12. Naomi E. Feldman & Joel Slemrod, 2007. "Estimating tax noncompliance with evidence from unaudited tax returns," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(518), pages 327-352, March.
    13. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Mark Rider, 2003. "Multiple Modes of Tax Evasion: Theory and Evidence from the TCMP," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0306, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    14. Nada Eissa & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1996. "Labor Supply Response to the Earned Income Tax Credit," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 605-637.
    15. Martinez-Vazquez, Jorge & Rider, Mark, 2005. "Multiple Modes of Tax Evasion: Theory and Evidence," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 58(1), pages 51-76, March.
    16. Gerald Auten & Robert Carroll, 1999. "The Effect Of Income Taxes On Household Income," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 681-693, November.
    17. Brown, Charles & Medoff, James, 1989. "The Employer Size-Wage Effect," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1027-1059, October.
    18. Robert E. Hall & Alvin Rabushka, 1985. "The Route to a Progressive Flat Tax," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 5(2), pages 465-480, Fall.
    19. Joel Slemrod, 2007. "Cheating Ourselves: The Economics of Tax Evasion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 25-48, Winter.
    20. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1996. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1797-1855, December.
    21. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
    22. Aarbu, Karl O. & Thoresen, Thor O., 2001. "Income Responses to Tax Changes--Evidence From the Norwegian Tax Reform," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 54(2), pages 319-338, June.
    23. Gorodnichenko, Yuriy & Sabirianova Peter, Klara, 2007. "Public sector pay and corruption: Measuring bribery from micro data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 963-991, June.
    24. Triest, Robert K., 1998. "Econometric Issues in Estimating the Behavioral Response to Taxation: A Nontechnical Introduction," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 51(4), pages 761-772, December.
    25. Triest, Robert K., 1998. "Econometric Issues in Estimating the Behavioral Response to Taxation: A Nontechnical Introduction," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(n. 4), pages 761-72, December.
    26. Martin Feldstein, 1999. "Tax Avoidance And The Deadweight Loss Of The Income Tax," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 674-680, November.
    27. Emmanuel Skoufias, 2003. "Consumption smoothing in Russia," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 11(1), pages 67-91, March.
    28. Peter, Klara Sabirianova & Buttrick, Steve & Duncan, Denvil, 2010. "Global Reform of Personal Income Taxation, 1981–2005: Evidence From 189 Countries," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 63(3), pages 447-478, September.
    29. Alessandra Guariglia & Byung‐Yeon Kim, 2003. "Wage arrears uncertainty and precautionary saving in Russia," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 11(3), pages 493-512, September.
    30. Arellano, M, 1987. "Computing Robust Standard Errors for Within-Groups Estimators," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 49(4), pages 431-434, November.
    31. Altonji, Joseph G & Hayashi, Fumio & Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1997. "Parental Altruism and Inter Vivos Transfers: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(6), pages 1121-1166, December.
    32. 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.
    33. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Mark Rider & Sally Wallace, 2008. "Tax Reform in Russia," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 2368.
    34. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Mark Rider & Riatu Qibthiyyah & Sally Wallace, 2006. "Who Bears the Burden of Taxes on Labor Income in Russia?," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0621, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    35. Clotfelter, Charles T, 1983. "Tax Evasion and Tax Rates: An Analysis of Individual Returns," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(3), pages 363-373, August.
    36. Justin Marion & Erich Muehlegger, 2008. "Measuring Illegal Activity and the Effects of Regulatory Innovation: Tax Evasion and the Dyeing of Untaxed Diesel," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 633-666, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Klara Sabirianova Peter, 2007. "Myth and Reality of Flat Tax Reform: Tax Evasion and Real Side Response of Russian Households," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0728, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    2. Tonin, Mirco, 2011. "Minimum wage and tax evasion: Theory and evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(11), pages 1635-1651.
    3. Kristoffer Berg & Thor O. Thoresen, 2020. "Problematic response margins in the estimation of the elasticity of taxable income," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 27(3), pages 721-752, June.
    4. Sara LaLumia & James Sallee, 2013. "The value of honesty: empirical estimates from the case of the missing children," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 20(2), pages 192-224, April.
    5. Matsaganis, Manos & Flevotomou, Maria, 2010. "Distributional implications of tax evasion in Greece," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 26074, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. James Alm, 2012. "Measuring, explaining, and controlling tax evasion: lessons from theory, experiments, and field studies," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(1), pages 54-77, February.
    7. Laura Blow & Ian Preston, 2002. "Deadweight loss and taxation of earned income: evidence from tax records of the UK self-employed," IFS Working Papers W02/15, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    8. Carina Neisser, 2017. "The elasticity of taxable income: A meta-regression analysis," Working Papers 2017/10, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    9. Kumar, Anil & Liang, Che-Yuan, 2020. "Estimating taxable income responses with elasticity heterogeneity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 188(C).
    10. Raj Chetty, 2009. "Is the Taxable Income Elasticity Sufficient to Calculate Deadweight Loss? The Implications of Evasion and Avoidance," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 31-52, August.
    11. Matsaganis, Manos & Benedek, Dóra & Flevotomou, Maria & Lelkes, Orsolya & Mantovani, Daniela & Nienadowska, Sylwia, 2010. "Distributional implications of income tax evasion in Greece, Hungary and Italy," MPRA Paper 21465, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. James Alm, 2019. "What Motivates Tax Compliance?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(2), pages 353-388, April.
    13. Manos Matsaganis & Maria Flevotomou, 2010. "Distributional Implications of Tax Evasion in Greece," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 31, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
    14. Tomáš Lichard & Jan Hanousek & Randall K. Filer, 2021. "Hidden in plain sight: using household data to measure the shadow economy," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 60(3), pages 1449-1476, March.
    15. Jongen, Egbert L. W. & Stoel, Maaike, 2019. "The Elasticity of Taxable Labour Income in the Netherlands," IZA Discussion Papers 12090, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    16. Loukas Balafoutas & Adrian Beck & Rudolf Kerschbamer & Matthias Sutter, 2014. "The hidden costs of tax evasion: collaborative tax evasion in markets for expert services," Economics Working Papers ECO2014/01, European University Institute.
    17. Blomquist, Sören & Selin, Håkan, 2010. "Hourly wage rate and taxable labor income responsiveness to changes in marginal tax rates," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 878-889, December.
    18. Waseem, Mazhar, 2018. "Taxes, informality and income shifting: Evidence from a recent Pakistani tax reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 41-77.
    19. Odd E Nygård & Joel Slemrod & Thor O Thoresen, 2019. "Distributional Implications of Joint Tax Evasion," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 129(620), pages 1894-1923.
    20. Joel Slemrod, 2007. "Cheating Ourselves: The Economics of Tax Evasion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 25-48, Winter.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • P2 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies

    Lists

    This item is featured on the following reading lists, Wikipedia, or ReplicationWiki pages:
    1. Myth and Reality of Flat Tax Reform: Micro Estimates of Tax Evasion Response and Welfare Effects in Russia (JPE 2009) in ReplicationWiki
    2. Economic Logic blog

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:ucp:jpolec:v:117:y:2009:i:3:p:504-554. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JPE .

    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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Journals Division (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JPE .

    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.