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The Excess Burden of Tax Evasion: An Experimental Detection-Concealment Contest

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  • Ralph-C Bayer

    (School of Economics, University of Adelaide)

  • Matthias Sutter

    (Department of Public Economics, University of Innsbruck)

Abstract

We present an experimental study on the wasted resources associated with tax evasion. This waste arises from taxpayers and tax authorities, investing costly effort in concealment, respectively detection, of tax evasion. We show that (socially inefficient) efforts depend positively on the prevailing tax rate, but not on the fine which is imposed in case of detected tax evasion. The frequency of evasion increases with tax rates. Additionally, we observe less tax evasion than a model with risk neutral taxpayers predicts. We find evidence that this is rather due to individual moral constraints than due to risk aversion.

Suggested Citation

  • Ralph-C Bayer & Matthias Sutter, 2003. "The Excess Burden of Tax Evasion: An Experimental Detection-Concealment Contest," School of Economics Working Papers 2003-05, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:adl:wpaper:2003-05
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    2. 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.
    3. Wilfried Anicet Kouamé, 2015. "Tax Morale and Trust in Public Institutions," Cahiers de recherche 15-14, Departement d'Economique de l'École de gestion à l'Université de Sherbrooke, revised Oct 2017.
    4. Bayer, Ralph-Christopher, 2016. "Cooperation and distributive conflict," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 88-109.
    5. Gerxhani, Klarita & Schram, Arthur, 2006. "Tax evasion and income source: A comparative experimental study," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 402-422, June.
    6. Ratbek Dzhumashev & Emin Gahramanov, 2008. "Can We Tax The Desire For Tax Evasion?," Monash Economics Working Papers 28/08, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    7. Loukas Balafoutas & Adrian Beck & Rudolf Kerschbamer & Matthias Sutter, 2014. "The Hidden Costs of Tax Evasion - Collaborative Tax Evasion in Markets for Expert Services," Working Papers 2014-01, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    8. Massimo Finocchiaro Castro & Ilde Rizzo, 2014. "Tax compliance under horizontal and vertical equity conditions: An experimental approach," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 21(4), pages 560-577, August.
    9. Werner Güth & Sabine Strauß & Matthias Sutter, 2005. "Tax Evasion And State Productivity—An Experimental Study," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(1), pages 85-100, February.
    10. Coricelli, Giorgio & Joffily, Mateus & Montmarquette, Claude & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2007. "Tax Evasion: Cheating Rationally or Deciding Emotionally?," IZA Discussion Papers 3103, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Pawe³ Pankiewicz, 2011. "The Individual Taxpayer Utility Function with Tax Optimization and Fiscal Fraud Environment," "e-Finanse", University of Information Technology and Management, Institute of Financial Research and Analysis, vol. 7(3), pages 52-58, November.
    12. Coricelli, Giorgio & Rusconi, Elena & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2014. "Tax evasion and emotions: An empirical test of re-integrative shaming theory," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 49-61.
    13. Nussim, Jacob & Tabbach, Avraham D., 2009. "Deterrence and avoidance," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 314-323, December.
    14. Sheedy, Elizabeth & Zhang, Le & Tam, Kenny Chi Ho, 2019. "Incentives and culture in risk compliance," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 1-1.
    15. Ratbek Dzhumashev & Emin Gahramanov, 2010. "A Growth Model with Income Tax Evasion: Some Implications for Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 86(275), pages 620-636, December.
    16. Blaufus, Kay & Braune, Matthias & Hundsdoerfer, Jochen & Jacob, Martin, 2015. "Self-serving bias and tax morale," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 91-93.
    17. Balafoutas, Loukas & Beck, Adrian & Kerschbamer, Rudolf & Sutter, Matthias, 2015. "The hidden costs of tax evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 129(C), pages 14-25.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    tax evasion; contest; experiment; tax rates; fines;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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