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Loss evasion and tax aversion

  • Engström, Per

    ()

    (Dept of Economics and Uppsala Center for Fiscal Studies (UCFS), Uppsala University)

  • Nordblom, Katarina

    ()

    (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

  • Ohlsson, Henry

    ()

    (Dept of Economics and Uppsala Center for Fiscal Studies (UCFS), Uppsala University)

  • Persson, Annika

    (The Swedish Tax Agency)

The objective of this paper is to study if taxpayers behave in a loss averse manner when filing their tax returns. This is important for tax design but also for understanding human behavior in general. The predictions of prospect theory can be contrasted to those of expected utility theory. We use data for 3.6 million Swedish taxpayers for the income year 2006. Our research method is quasi-experimental using a regression kink and discontinuity approach. We also use an alternative instrumental-variables approach. There is strong evidence of loss aversion. We estimate the coefficient of loss aversion using actual behavior and the instrument-variables approach. Our estimate is very close to the estimates reported in the experimental literature.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/28028
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Paper provided by University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 518.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: 29 Nov 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0518
Note: Katarina Nordblom is also working at UCFS.
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Box 640, SE 405 30 GÖTEBORG, Sweden

Phone: 031-773 10 00
Web page: http://www.handels.gu.se/econ/

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  1. Gächter, Simon & Johnson, Eric J. & Herrmann, Andreas, 2007. "Individual-Level Loss Aversion in Riskless and Risky Choices," IZA Discussion Papers 2961, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Botond Koszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2005. "A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000341, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Terrance Odean, 1998. "Are Investors Reluctant to Realize Their Losses?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(5), pages 1775-1798, October.
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  7. Schmidt, Ulrich & Traub, Stefan, 2002. "An Experimental Test of Loss Aversion," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 233-49, November.
  8. Richard H. Thaler & Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman & Alan Schwartz, 1997. "The Effect of Myopia and Loss Aversion on Risk Taking: An Experimental Test," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 647-661.
  9. Yaniv, Gideon, 1999. "Tax Compliance and Advance Tax Payments: A Prospect Theory Analysis," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 4), pages 753-64, December.
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  13. Damon Jones, 2012. "Inertia and Overwithholding: Explaining the Prevalence of Income Tax Refunds," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 158-85, February.
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  15. Naomi E. Feldman, 2010. "Mental Accounting Effects of Income Tax Shifting," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(1), pages 70-86, February.
  16. David Card & David S. Lee & Zhuan Pei, 2009. "Quasi-Experimental Identification and Estimation in the Regression Kink Design," Working Papers 1206, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  17. Mohammed Abdellaoui & Han Bleichrodt & Corina Paraschiv, 2007. "Loss Aversion Under Prospect Theory: A Parameter-Free Measurement," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(10), pages 1659-1674, October.
  18. S. Dellavigna., 2011. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 5.
  19. David Genesove & Christopher Mayer, 2001. "Loss Aversion and Seller Behavior: Evidence from the Housing Market," NBER Working Papers 8143, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  21. Dhami, Sanjit & al-Nowaihi, Ali, 2007. "Why do people pay taxes? Prospect theory versus expected utility theory," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 171-192, September.
  22. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. "Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
  23. Ian Bateman & Alistair Munro & Bruce Rhodes & Chris Starmer & Robert Sugden, 1997. "A Test of the Theory of Reference-Dependent Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 479-505.
  24. Elffers, Henk & Hessing, Dick J., 1997. "Influencing the prospects of tax evasion," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 18(2-3), pages 289-304, April.
  25. Robben, Henry S. J. & Webley, Paul & Elffers, Henk & Hessing, Dick J., 1990. "Decision frames, opportunity and tax evasion : An experimental approach," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 353-361, December.
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  27. Mohammed Abdellaoui & Han Bleichrodt & Olivier L’Haridon, 2008. "A tractable method to measure utility and loss aversion under prospect theory," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 245-266, June.
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