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Moral Constraints and the Evasion of Income Tax

  • Ralph-C Bayer

    ()

    (School of Economics, University of Adelaide)

This paper re-examines the individual income tax evasion decision in the simple framework introduced by Allingham and Sandmo (1972), where the individual taxpayer decides how much of his income is invested in a safe asset (reported income) and in a risky asset (concealed income). These early models could not convincingly reproduce the empirically observed positive influence of higher tax rates and higher gross income on tax evasion simultaneously. We replace the standard assumption that risk aversion is the factor limiting the extent of evasion by assuming risk neutral taxpayers and argue that this is a reasonable approximation. The observation that concealing income is costly leads to the conclusion that, instead of risk aversion, evasion costs (such as concealment expenses and moral cost) might be the factors that limit tax evasion. We reproduce the stylized facts not explained by older models for very general tax and penalty schemes, including those where the standard model definitely fails to do so.

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File URL: http://www.economics.adelaide.edu.au/research/papers/doc/wp2004-09.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Adelaide, School of Economics in its series School of Economics Working Papers with number 2004-09.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:adl:wpaper:2004-09
Contact details of provider: Postal: Adelaide SA 5005
Phone: (618) 8303 5540
Web page: http://www.economics.adelaide.edu.au/

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  1. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, . "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," IEW - Working Papers 004, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  2. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," General Economics and Teaching 0303002, EconWPA.
  3. Myles, Gareth D. & Naylor, Robin A., 1996. "A model of tax evasion with group conformity and social customs," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 49-66, April.
  4. repec:att:wimass:9610 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. 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.
  6. Cowell, F. A., 1992. "Tax evasion and inequity," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 521-543, December.
  7. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
  8. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  9. Andreoni, J. & Erard, B. & Feinstein, J., 1996. "Tax Compliance," Working papers 9610r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  10. Christiansen, Vidar, 1980. "Two Comments on Tax Evasion," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 389-93, June.
  11. Christiansen, Vidar, 1980. "Two comments on tax evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 389-393, June.
  12. Mookherjee, Dilip & Png, Ivan, 1989. "Optimal Auditing, Insurance, and Redistribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 399-415, May.
  13. Border, Kim C & Sobel, Joel, 1987. "Samurai Accountant: A Theory of Auditing and Plunder," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 525-40, October.
  14. Colin Camerer, 1998. "Bounded Rationality in Individual Decision Making," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 163-183, September.
  15. Machina, Mark J, 1987. "Choice under Uncertainty: Problems Solved and Unsolved," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 121-54, Summer.
  16. Bernasconi, Michele, 1998. "Tax evasion and orders of risk aversion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 123-134, January.
  17. Kachelmeier, Steven J & Shehata, Mohamed, 1992. "Examining Risk Preferences under High Monetary Incentives: Experimental Evidence from the People's Republic of China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1120-41, December.
  18. Allingham, Michael G. & Sandmo, Agnar, 1972. "Income tax evasion: a theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 323-338, November.
  19. Mookherjee, Dilip & Png, I P L, 1990. "Enforcement Costs and the Optimal Progressivity of Income Taxes," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 410-31, Fall.
  20. Chander, Parkash & Wilde, Louis L, 1998. "A General Characterization of Optimal Income Tax Enforcement," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(1), pages 165-83, January.
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