IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/9717.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Production vs Revenue Efficiency With Limited Tax Capacity: Theory and Evidence From Pakistan

Author

Listed:
  • Best, Michael
  • Brockmeyer, Anne
  • Kleven, Henrik
  • Spinnewijn, Johannes
  • Waseem, Mazhar

Abstract

This paper analyzes the design of tax systems under imperfect enforcement. A common policy in developing countries is to impose minimum tax schemes whereby firms are taxed either on profits or on turnover, depending on which tax liability is larger. This production inefficient tax policy has been motivated by the idea that the broader turnover tax base is harder to evade. Minimum tax schemes give rise to a kink point in firms' choice sets as the tax rate and tax base jump discontinuously when one tax liability surpasses the other. Using administrative tax records on corporations in Pakistan, we find large bunching around the minimum tax kink. We show that the combined tax rate and tax base change at the kink provides small real incentives for bunching, making the policy ideal for eliciting evasion. We develop an empirical approach allowing us to put (tight) bounds on the evasion response to switches between profit and turnover taxation, and find that turnover taxes reduce evasion by up to 60-70% of corporate income. Our analysis sheds new light on the use of production-inefficient tax tools in countries with limited tax capacity and can easily be replicated in other contexts as the quasi-experimental variation needed is ubiquitous.

Suggested Citation

  • Best, Michael & Brockmeyer, Anne & Kleven, Henrik & Spinnewijn, Johannes & Waseem, Mazhar, 2013. "Production vs Revenue Efficiency With Limited Tax Capacity: Theory and Evidence From Pakistan," CEPR Discussion Papers 9717, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9717
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=9717
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org
    ---><---

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

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Robin Boadway & Motohiro Sato, 2009. "Optimal Tax Design and Enforcement with an Informal Sector," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 1-27, February.
    3. Hassett, Kevin A. & Hubbard, R. Glenn, 2002. "Tax policy and business investment," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 20, pages 1293-1343, Elsevier.
    4. Slemrod, Joel & Kopczuk, Wojciech, 2002. "The optimal elasticity of taxable income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 91-112, April.
    5. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Tore Olsen & Luigi Pistaferri, 2011. "Adjustment Costs, Firm Responses, and Micro vs. Macro Labor Supply Elasticities: Evidence from Danish Tax Records," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 749-804.
    6. Julia Cage & Lucie Gadenne, 2014. "Tax Revenues, Development, and the Fiscal Cost of Trade Liberalization, 1792-2006," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/4icc4hr7684, Sciences Po.
    7. 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.
    8. Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "Do Taxpayers Bunch at Kink Points?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 180-212, August.
    9. James Andreoni & Brian Erard & Jonathan Feinstein, 1998. "Tax Compliance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 818-860, June.
    10. Laura Kawano & Joel Slemrod, 2012. "The Effect of Tax Rates and Tax Bases on Corporate Tax Revenues: Estimates with New Measures of the Corporate Tax Base," Working Papers 1219, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
    11. Dina Pomeranz, 2015. "No Taxation without Information: Deterrence and Self-Enforcement in the Value Added Tax," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(8), pages 2539-2569, August.
    12. Julia Cage & Lucie Gadenne, 2014. "Tax Revenues, Development, and the Fiscal Cost of Trade Liberalization, 1792-2006," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/4icc4hr7684, Sciences Po.
    13. Joel Slemrod & Caroline Weber, 2012. "Evidence of the invisible: toward a credibility revolution in the empirical analysis of tax evasion and the informal economy," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(1), pages 25-53, February.
    14. Emran, M. Shahe & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 2005. "On selective indirect tax reform in developing countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 599-623, April.
    15. Joel Slemrod, 2001. "A General Model of the Behavioral Response to Taxation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 8(2), pages 119-128, March.
    16. Michael Keen, 2014. "Targeting, cascading and indirect tax design," Indian Growth and Development Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 7(2), pages 181-201, November.
    17. Baunsgaard, Thomas & Keen, Michael, 2010. "Tax revenue and (or?) trade liberalization," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 563-577, October.
    18. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production: I--Production Efficiency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 8-27, March.
    19. Gordon, Roger & Li, Wei, 2009. "Tax structures in developing countries: Many puzzles and a possible explanation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 855-866, August.
    20. Kopczuk, Wojciech, 2005. "Tax bases, tax rates and the elasticity of reported income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2093-2119, December.
    21. Joel Slemrod, 2007. "Cheating Ourselves: The Economics of Tax Evasion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 25-48, Winter.
    22. Slemrod, Joel & Blumenthal, Marsha & Christian, Charles, 2001. "Taxpayer response to an increased probability of audit: evidence from a controlled experiment in Minnesota," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 455-483, March.
    23. Dwenger, Nadja & Steiner, Viktor, 2012. "Profit Taxation and the Elasticity of the Corporate Income Tax Base: Evidence From German Corporate Tax Return Data," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 65(1), pages 118-150, March.
    24. 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.
    25. Emmanuel Saez & Joel Slemrod & Seth H. Giertz, 2012. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income with Respect to Marginal Tax Rates: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(1), pages 3-50, March.
    26. Todd Kumler & Eric Verhoogen & Judith A. Frías, 2013. "Enlisting Employees in Improving Payroll-Tax Compliance: Evidence from Mexico," NBER Working Papers 19385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    27. Martin Feldstein, 1995. "Behavioral Responses to Tax Rates: Evidence from TRA86," NBER Working Papers 5000, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    28. Dharmapala, Dhammika & Slemrod, Joel & Wilson, John Douglas, 2011. "Tax policy and the missing middle: Optimal tax remittance with firm-level administrative costs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9-10), pages 1036-1047, October.
    29. Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Martin B. Knudsen & Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Søren Pedersen & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Unwilling or Unable to Cheat? Evidence From a Tax Audit Experiment in Denmark," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(3), pages 651-692, May.
    30. 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.
    31. Henrik J. Kleven & Mazhar Waseem, 2013. "Using Notches to Uncover Optimization Frictions and Structural Elasticities: Theory and Evidence from Pakistan," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(2), pages 669-723.
    32. A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), 2002. "Handbook of Public Economics," Handbook of Public Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 4, number 4.
    33. Michael P. Devereux & Li Liu & Simon Loretz, 2014. "The Elasticity of Corporate Taxable Income: New Evidence from UK Tax Records," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 19-53, May.
    34. 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.
    35. Feldstein, Martin, 1995. "Behavioral Responses to Tax Rates: Evidence from the Tax Reform Act of 1986," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 170-174, May.
    36. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production II: Tax Rules," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(3), pages 261-278, June.
    37. Keen, Michael, 2008. "VAT, tariffs, and withholding: Border taxes and informality in developing countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 1892-1906, October.
    38. A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), 2002. "Handbook of Public Economics," Handbook of Public Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 3, number 3.
    39. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1974. "Income tax evasion: A theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 201-202, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Adnan Q. Khan & Asim I. Khwaja & Benjamin A. Olken, 2016. "Tax Farming Redux: Experimental Evidence on Performance Pay for Tax Collectors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(1), pages 219-271.
    2. Julia Cage & Lucie Gadenne, 2014. "Tax Revenues, Development, and the Fiscal Cost of Trade Liberalization, 1792-2006," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/4icc4hr7684, Sciences Po.
    3. Todd Kumler & Eric Verhoogen & Judith A. Frías, 2013. "Enlisting Employees in Improving Payroll-Tax Compliance: Evidence from Mexico," NBER Working Papers 19385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Godin, M. & Hindriks, J., 2015. "A Review of Critical Issues on Tax Design and Tax Administration in a Global Economy and Developing Countries," LIDAM Discussion Papers CORE 2015028, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    5. 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.
    6. Beer, Sebastian & Loeprick, Jan, 2017. "Taxing income in the oil and gas sector — Challenges of international and domestic profit shifting," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 186-198.
    7. Merima Ali & Abdulaziz B. Shifa & Abebe Shimeles & Firew Woldeyes, 2015. "Building fiscal capacity in developing countries: Evidence on the role of information technology," CMI Working Papers 12, CMI (Chr. Michelsen Institute), Bergen, Norway.
    8. repec:nam:befdwp:7 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Julia Cage & Lucie Gadenne, 2014. "Tax Revenues, Development, and the Fiscal Cost of Trade Liberalization, 1792-2006," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/4icc4hr7684, Sciences Po.
    10. Brockmeyer,Anne & Hernandez,Marco, 2016. "Taxation, information, and withholding : evidence from Costa Rica," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7600, The World Bank.
    11. Miguel Almunia & David Lopez-Rodriguez, 2018. "Under the Radar: The Effects of Monitoring Firms on Tax Compliance," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 1-38, February.
    12. Hoseini, Mohammad, 2015. "Value-Addes Tax and Shadow Economy : the Role of Input-Output Linkages (revision of CentER Discussion Paper 2013-036)," Discussion Paper 2015-058, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    13. Anne Brockmeyer, 2013. "The investment effect of taxation: evidence from a corporate tax kink," Working Papers 1317, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
    14. Catalina Tejada & Eliana Ferrara & Henrik Kleven & Florian Blum & Oriana Bandiera & Michel Azulai, 2015. "State Effectiveness, Growth, and Development," Working Papers id:6668, eSocialSciences.

    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. Michael Carlos Best & Anne Brockmeyer & Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Johannes Spinnewijn & Mazhar Waseem, 2015. "Production versus Revenue Efficiency with Limited Tax Capacity: Theory and Evidence from Pakistan," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 123(6), pages 1311-1355.
    2. Catalina Tejada & Eliana Ferrara & Henrik Kleven & Florian Blum & Oriana Bandiera & Michel Azulai, 2015. "State Effectiveness, Growth, and Development," Working Papers id:6668, eSocialSciences.
    3. Fack, Gabrielle & Landais, Camille, 2016. "The effect of tax enforcement on tax elasticities: Evidence from charitable contributions in France," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 23-40.
    4. Asatryan, Zareh & Peichl, Andreas, 2016. "Responses of firms to tax, administrative and accounting rules: Evidence from Armenia," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-065, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    5. Marcelo Bergolo & Gabriel Burdin & Mauricio De Rosa & Matias Giaccobasso & Martín Leites, 2019. "Tax bunching at the Kink in the Presence of Low Capacity of Enforcement: Evidence From Uruguay," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 19-05, Instituto de Economia - IECON.
    6. 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.
    7. Dina Pomeranz & José Vila-Belda, 2019. "Taking State-Capacity Research to the Field: Insights from Collaborations with Tax Authorities," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 11(1), pages 755-781, August.
    8. Paetzold, Jörg & Winner, Hannes, 2016. "Taking the high road? Compliance with commuter tax allowances and the role of evasion spillovers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 1-14.
    9. Joel Slemrod & Obeid Ur Rehman & Mazhar Waseem, 2019. "Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Motivations for Tax Compliance: Evidence from Pakistan," NBER Working Papers 25623, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Doerrenberg, Philipp & Duncan, Denvil, 2014. "Experimental evidence on the relationship between tax evasion opportunities and labor supply," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 48-70.
    11. Camilo Gómez, 2019. "How Responsive are Firms to the Corporate Wealth Tax?," Documentos CEDE 017433, Universidad de los Andes - CEDE.
    12. Hargaden, Enda Patrick, 2020. "Taxpayer responses in good times and bad," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 176(C), pages 653-690.
    13. He, Daixin & Peng, Langchuan & Wang, Xiaxin, 2021. "Understanding the elasticity of taxable income: A tale of two approaches," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 197(C).
    14. Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Emmanuel Saez, 2016. "Why Can Modern Governments Tax So Much? An Agency Model of Firms as Fiscal Intermediaries," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 83(330), pages 219-246, April.
    15. Arbex, Marcelo Aarestru & Mattos, Enlinson, 2020. "Limited tax capacity and the optimal taxation of firms," Textos para discussão 539, FGV EESP - Escola de Economia de São Paulo, Fundação Getulio Vargas (Brazil).
    16. Simeon Schächtele, 2020. "Tax Responses at Low Taxable Incomes: Evidence from Germany," Fiscal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 41(2), pages 411-439, June.
    17. Miguel Almunia & David Lopez-Rodriguez, 2014. "Heterogeneous Responses to Effective Tax Enforcement: Evidence from Spanish Firms," Working Papers 1412, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
    18. Emmanuel Saez & Joel Slemrod & Seth H. Giertz, 2012. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income with Respect to Marginal Tax Rates: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(1), pages 3-50, March.
    19. Carina Neisser, 2017. "The elasticity of taxable income: A meta-regression analysis," Working Papers 2017/10, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    20. Doerrenberg, Philipp & Duncan, Denvil & Fuest, Clemens & Peichl, Andreas, 2012. "Nice Guys Finish Last: Are People with Higher Tax Morale Taxed More Heavily?," IZA Discussion Papers 6275, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    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:cpr:ceprdp:9717. 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.cepr.org .

    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: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://www.cepr.org .

    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.