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Can Whistleblower Programs Reduce Tax Evasion? Experimental Evidence

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  • David Masclet

    (CREM - Centre de recherche en économie et management - UNICAEN - Université de Caen Normandie - NU - Normandie Université - UR1 - Université de Rennes 1 - UNIV-RENNES - Université de Rennes - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CIRANO - Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en analyse des organisations - UQAM - Université du Québec à Montréal = University of Québec in Montréal)

  • Claude Montmarquette

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

  • Nathalie Viennot-Briot

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

Abstract

There are many ways of tackling tax evasion. The traditional strategies implemented by tax authorities fight fiscal fraud through audit and penalties. However, there also exist a plethora of unconventional methods, such as whistleblower programs. Although there is a rich economic literature on tax evasion, auditing and penalties, tax agencies’ heavy reliance on whistleblower programs has mostly been ignored. We ran an experiment in which taxpayers can punish tax evaders by reporting them to the authorities, even though it is costly for them to do so and despite the lack of any material benefit from doing so. Information on other taxpayers' compliance rates together with the opportunity to report tax evaders has a positive and a very significant effect on the level of income reported. Observing the compliance rates of other participants alone does not suffice to increase tax revenues, while the mere threat of being reported significantly increases revenues.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • David Masclet & Claude Montmarquette & Nathalie Viennot-Briot, 2019. "Can Whistleblower Programs Reduce Tax Evasion? Experimental Evidence," Post-Print halshs-02301968, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-02301968
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2019.101459
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02301968
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    fiscal fraud; whistleblowers; laboratory experiment.; ambiguous risk;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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