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Cheating, Emotions, and Rationality: An Experiment on Tax Evasion

Author

Listed:
  • Giorgio Coricelli

    (ISC - Institut des Sciences Cognitives - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Mateus Joffily

    (ISC - Institut des Sciences Cognitives - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Claude Montmarquette

    (CIRANO - Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en analyse des organisations - UQAM - Université du Québec à Montréal)

  • Marie Claire Villeval

    () (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - UJM - Université Jean Monnet [Saint-Étienne] - Université de Lyon - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

The economics-of-crime approach usually ignores the emotional cost and benefit of cheating. In this paper, we investigate the relationships between emotions, deception, and rational decision-making by means of an experiment on tax evasion. Emotions are measured by skin conductance responses and self-reports. We show that the intensity of anticipated and anticipatory emotions before reporting positively correlates with both the decision to cheat and the proportion of evaded income. The experienced emotional arousal after an audit increases with the monetary sanctions and the arousal is even stronger when the evader's picture is publicly displayed. We also find that the risk of a public exposure of deception deters evasion whereas the amount of fines encourages evasion. These results suggest that an audit policy that strengthens the emotional dimension of cheating favors compliance.

Suggested Citation

  • Giorgio Coricelli & Mateus Joffily & Claude Montmarquette & Marie Claire Villeval, 2010. "Cheating, Emotions, and Rationality: An Experiment on Tax Evasion," Post-Print halshs-00462067, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00462067
    DOI: 10.1007/s10683-010-9237-5
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00462067
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    deception; tax evasion; emotions; physiological measures; experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D87 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Neuroeconomics
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance

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