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Old George Orwell Got it Backward: Some Thoughts on Behavioral Tax Economics

  • Joel Slemrod

It is entirely appropriate that the study of public finance take seriously “behavioral” inconsistencies with traditional models of individual and collective decision-making. This raises the question of whether the state should play a role in protecting individuals from themselves, and whether individuals are susceptible to manipulation, or even exploitation, by the people who comprise the state. In this essay I address one aspect of this issue – how it affects an economic analysis of tax systems. In addressing this task I ask, and offer some tentative answers to, what is distinctive about behavioral tax economics as a sub-field of behavioral economics and as a sub-field of tax economics.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2777.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2777
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  9. Paul R. Milgrom, 1979. "Good Nevs and Bad News: Representation Theorems and Applications," Discussion Papers 407R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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  11. Benno Torgler, 2004. "Moral Suasion: An alternative tax policy strategy? Evidence from a controlled field experiment in Switzerland," CREMA Working Paper Series 2004-01, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  12. Alm, James & Jacobson, Sarah, 2007. "Using Laboratory Experimentsin Public Economics," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 60(1), pages 129-52, March.
  13. Blumkin, Tomer & Ruffle, Bradley & Ganun, Yosef, 2010. "Are Income and Consumption Taxes Ever Really Equivalent? Evidence from a Real-Effort Experiment with Real Goods," IZA Discussion Papers 5145, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Jan Hanousek & Filip Palda, 2004. "Quality of Government Services and the Civic Duty to Pay Taxes in the Czech and Slovak Republics, and other Transition Countries," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 237-252, 05.
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  16. Konrad, Kai A., 2008. "Mobile tax base as a global common," Munich Reprints in Economics 22088, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  17. Marsha Blumenthal & Charles Christian & Joel Slemrod, 2001. "Taxpayer response to an increased probability of audit: Evidence from a controlled experiment in minnesota," Natural Field Experiments 00332, The Field Experiments Website.
  18. John A. List, 2007. "On the Interpretation of Giving in Dictator Games," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 482-493.
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  20. Carlin, Bruce I., 2009. "Strategic price complexity in retail financial markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3), pages 278-287, March.
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  23. Krishna, Aradhna & Slemrod, Joel, 2003. "Behavioral Public Finance: Tax Design As Price Presentation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 10(2), pages 189-203, March.
  24. Blumenthal, Marsha & Christian, Charles W. & Slemrod, Joel, 2001. "Do Normative Appeals Affect Tax Compliance? Evidence from a Controlled Experiment in Minnesota," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 1), pages 125-38, March.
  25. Benno Torgler, 2003. "Tax Morale, Rule-Governed Behaviour and Trust," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 119-140, June.
  26. Scotchmer, Suzanne & Slemrod, Joel, 1989. "Randomness in tax enforcement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 17-32, February.
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  28. 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.
  29. Slemrod, Joel, 2006. "The Role of Misconceptions in Support for Regressive Tax Reform," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 59(1), pages 57-75, March.
  30. Sung Won Kang & Hugh Rockoff, 2006. "Capitalizing Patriotism: The Liberty Loans of World War I," NBER Working Papers 11919, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  35. Slemrod, Joel, 2008. "Does It Matter Who Writes the Check to the Government? The Economics of Tax Remittance," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 61(2), pages 251-75, June.
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