IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/esi/discus/2003-28.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The excess burden of tax evasion – An experimental detection-concealment contest

Author

Listed:
  • Ralph-C Bayer
  • Matthias Sutter

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 detect ion, 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," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2003-28, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:esi:discus:2003-28
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: ftp://papers.econ.mpg.de/esi/discussionpapers/2003-28.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869.
    2. Alm, James & Bahl, Roy & Murray, Matthew N, 1990. "Tax Structure and Tax Compliance," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(4), pages 603-613, November.
    3. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-864, October.
    4. Fortin, Bernard & Lacroix, Guy & Villeval, Marie-Claire, 2007. "Tax evasion and social interactions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(11-12), pages 2089-2112, December.
    5. Bernasconi, Michele, 1998. "Tax evasion and orders of risk aversion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 123-134, January.
    6. Gordon, James P. P., 1989. "Individual morality and reputation costs as deterrents to tax evasion," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 797-805, April.
    7. Jonathan S. Feinstein, 1991. "An Econometric Analysis of Income Tax Evasion and its Detection," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(1), pages 14-35, Spring.
    8. Baldry, Jonathan C, 1987. "Income Tax Evasion and the Tax Schedule: Some Experimental Results," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 42(3), pages 357-383.
    9. 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.
    10. Kim C. Border & Joel Sobel, 1987. "Samurai Accountant: A Theory of Auditing and Plunder," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(4), pages 525-540.
    11. Joulfaian, David & Rider, Mark, 1996. "Tax Evasion in the Presence of Negative Income Tax Rates," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 49(4), pages 553-570, December.
    12. Bayer, Ralph-C., 2006. "A contest with the taxman - the impact of tax rates on tax evasion and wastefully invested resources," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(5), pages 1071-1104, July.
    13. Gideon Yaniv, 1999. "Tax Evasion, Risky Laundering, and Optimal Deterrence Policy," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 6(1), pages 27-38, February.
    14. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    15. Matthew Rabin, 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1281-1292, September.
    16. 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.
    17. Torgler, Benno, 2003. "To evade taxes or not to evade: that is the question," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 283-302, July.
    18. Alm, James & Jackson, Betty & McKee, Michael J., 1992. "Estimating the Determinants of Taxpayer Compliance with Experimental Data," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 45(1), pages 107-14, March.
    19. Richard J. Cebula, 2001. "Impact of income-detection technology and other factors on aggregate income tax evasion:the case of the United States," Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 54(219), pages 401-415.
    20. Frank A. Cowell, 1990. "Cheating the Government: The Economics of Evasion," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262532484, January.
    21. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1994. " Tax Evasion, Concealment and the Optimal Linear Income Tax," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 96(2), pages 219-239.
    22. Usher, Dan, 1986. "Tax Evasion and the Marginal Cost of Public Funds," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 24(4), pages 563-586, October.
    23. Cowell, F A, 1990. "Tax Sheltering and the Cost of Evasion," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(1), pages 231-243, January.
    24. Reinganum, Jennifer F & Wilde, Louis L, 1986. "Equilibrium Verification and Reporting Policies in a Model of Tax Compliance," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 27(3), pages 739-760, October.
    25. James Andreoni & Brian Erard & Jonathan Feinstein, 1998. "Tax Compliance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 818-860, June.
    26. Kim, Chung Kweon, 2002. "Does fairness matter in tax reporting behavior?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 771-785, December.
    27. 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.
    28. Kaplow, Louis, 1990. "Optimal taxation with costly enforcement and evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 221-236, November.
    29. Alm, James & McClelland, Gary H. & Schulze, William D., 1992. "Why do people pay taxes?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 21-38, June.
    30. Scotchmer, Suzanne, 1987. "Audit Classes and Tax Enforcement Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 229-233, May.
    31. 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.
    32. Alm, James & Jackson, Betty & McKee, Michael J., 1992. "Estimating the Determinants of Taxpayer Compliance With Experimental Data," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 45(1), pages 107-114, March.
    33. Torgler, Benno, 2002. " Speaking to Theorists and Searching for Facts: Tax Morale and Tax Compliance in Experiments," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(5), pages 657-683, December.
    34. Alm, James & Jackson, Betty & McKee, Michael, 1992. "Institutional Uncertainty and Taxpayer Compliance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 1018-1026, September.
    35. Falkinger, Josef, 1988. "Tax Evasion and Equity: A Theoretical Analysis," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 43(3), pages 388-395.
    36. Pommerehne, Werner W & Weck-Hannemann, Hannelore, 1996. "Tax Rates, Tax Administration and Income Tax Evasion in Switzerland," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 88(1-2), pages 161-170, July.
    37. Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2003. "On the Nature of Fair Behavior," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(1), pages 20-26, January.
    38. Maciejovsky, Boris & Kirchler, Erich & Schwarzenberger, Herbert, 2007. "Misperception of chance and loss repair: On the dynamics of tax compliance," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 678-691, December.
    39. Dubin, Jeffrey A. & Wilde, Louis L., 1988. "An Empirical Analysis of Federal Income Tax Auditing and Compliance," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 41(1), pages 61-74, March.
    40. Dominik H. Enste & Friedrich Schneider, 2000. "Shadow Economies: Size, Causes, and Consequences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 77-114, March.
    41. Joel Slemrod, 2007. "Cheating Ourselves: The Economics of Tax Evasion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 25-48, Winter.
    42. Friedland, Nehemiah & Maital, Shlomo & Rutenberg, Aryeh, 1978. "A simulation study of income tax evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 107-116, August.
    43. Dubin, Jeffrey A. & Wilde, Louis L., 1988. "An Empirical Analysis of Federal Income Tax Auditing and Compliance," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 41(1), pages 61-74, March.
    44. Joulfaian, David & Rider, Mark, 1996. "Tax Evasion in the Presence of Negative Income Tax Rates," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(4), pages 553-70, December.
    45. Clotfelter, Charles T, 1983. "Tax Evasion and Tax Rates: An Analysis of Individual Returns," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(3), pages 363-373, August.
    46. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    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. 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. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Coricelli, Giorgio & Joffily, Mateus & Montmarquette, Claude & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2007. "Tax Evasion: Cheating Rationally or Deciding Emotionally?," IZA Discussion Papers 3103, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. 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.
    6. Bayer, Ralph-Christopher, 2016. "Cooperation and distributive conflict," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 88-109.
    7. 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.
    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. Ratbek Dzhumashev & Emin Gahramanov, 2008. "Can We Tax The Desire For Tax Evasion?," Monash Economics Working Papers 28/08, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    10. 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.
    11. Nussim, Jacob & Tabbach, Avraham D., 2009. "Deterrence and avoidance," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 314-323, December.
    12. Blaufus, Kay & Braune, Matthias & Hundsdoerfer, Jochen & Jacob, Martin, 2015. "Self-serving bias and tax morale," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 91-93.
    13. 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.
    14. Dzhumashev, Ratbek & Gahramanov, Emin, 2008. "Can we tax the desire for tax evasion?," Economics Series eco_2008_19, Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.
    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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    tax evasion; contest; experiment; tax rates; fines;

    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

    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:esi:discus:2003-28. 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: (Karin Richter). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/mpiewde.html .

    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 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.

    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.