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Don’t blame the Messenger. A Field Experiment on Delivery Methods for Increasing Tax Compliance

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  • Ortega, Daniel
  • Scartascini, Carlos

Abstract

The effect of different delivery mechanisms for increasing tax compliance has not been evaluated so far. This study conducts a field experiment in Colombia that varies the way the National Tax Agency contacts taxpayers on payments due for income, value added, and wealth taxes. More than 20,000 were randomly assigned to a control or one of three delivery mechanisms. Results indicate large and highly significant effects, as well as sizable differences across delivery methods. A personal visit by an inspector is more effective than a letter or an email, conditional on delivery; which has several relevant academic and policy implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Ortega, Daniel & Scartascini, Carlos, 2015. "Don’t blame the Messenger. A Field Experiment on Delivery Methods for Increasing Tax Compliance," Research Department working papers 821, CAF Development Bank Of Latinamerica.
  • Handle: RePEc:dbl:dblwop:821
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    1. 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.
    2. Biddle, Nicholas & Fels, Katja M. & Sinning, Mathias, 2018. "Behavioral insights on business taxation: Evidence from two natural field experiments," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(C), pages 30-49.
    3. Biddle, Nicholas & Fels, Katja & Sinning, Mathias, 2017. "Behavioral insights and business taxation: Evidence from two randomized controlled trials," Ruhr Economic Papers 698, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    4. Gillitzer, Christian & Sinning, Mathias, 2020. "Nudging businesses to pay their taxes: Does timing matter?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 169(C), pages 284-300.
    5. Lopez-Luzuriaga, Andrea & Scartascini, Carlos, 2019. "Compliance spillovers across taxes: The role of penalties and detection," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 518-534.
    6. Martin Brown & Jan Schmitz & Christian Zehnder, 2018. "Communication, Credit Provision and Loan Repayment: Evidence from a Person-to-Person Lending Experiment," Working Papers on Finance 1819, University of St. Gallen, School of Finance, revised Aug 2020.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Impuestos; Investigación socioeconómica; Medición de impacto;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance

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