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Labor supply when tax evasion is an option

  • Jørgensen, Øystein

    ()

    (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo)

  • Ognedal, Tone

    ()

    (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo)

  • Strøm, Steinar

    ()

    (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo)

We estimate labor supply when tax evasion is an option, using a discrete choice model on pooled Norwegian survey data from 1980 and 2001. Direct labor supply elasticities, conditional on sectors, are in the range of 0.2-0.4. The elasticities are higher for work that is not registered for taxation, than for registered work. Overall wage increases have a positive impact on the supply of registered work and a negative impact on supply of unregistered work. In addition to economic factors such as wages and tax rates, also social norms and opportunities for tax evasion at the work place have an impact on the supply of unregistered labor. The model is used to simulate the impact on labor supply of changes in the tax structure, such as the lowering of marginal tax rates. The fraction of the population who did unreported work was reduced from 1980 to 2001. Lower and less progressive tax rates after 1980 have contributed to this reduction. Although taxes matter for supply of both reported and non-reported labor, the impact is not strong. Social norms and opportunities for tax evasion at the work place are also important in explaining the change.

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File URL: http://www.sv.uio.no/econ/english/research/unpublished-works/working-papers/pdf-files/2005/Memo-06-2005.pdf
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Paper provided by Oslo University, Department of Economics in its series Memorandum with number 06/2005.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 06 Apr 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:osloec:2005_006
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, University of Oslo, P.O Box 1095 Blindern, N-0317 Oslo, Norway
Phone: 22 85 51 27
Fax: 22 85 50 35
Web page: http://www.oekonomi.uio.no/indexe.htmlEmail:


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  1. Isachsen, Arne Jon & Strom, Steinar, 1980. " The Hidden Economy: The Labor Market and Tax Evasion," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 82(2), pages 304-11.
  2. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
  3. Lacroix, Guy & Fortin, Bernard, 1992. "Utility-Based Estimation of Labour Supply Functions in the Regular and Irregular Sectors," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(415), pages 1407-22, November.
  4. 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.
  5. Brian Erard & Jonathan S. Feinstein, 1994. "Honesty and Evasion in the Tax Compliance Game," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(1), pages 1-19, Spring.
  6. Andersen, Per, 1977. " Tax Evasion and Labor Supply," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 79(3), pages 375-83.
  7. 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 363-73, August.
  8. John K. Dagsvik & Steinar Strøm, 2004. "Sectoral Labor Supply, Choice Restrictions and Functional Form," Discussion Papers 388, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  9. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
  10. Cowell, Frank A., 1985. "Tax evasion with labour income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 19-34, February.
  11. Lemieux, Thomas & Fortin, Bernard & Frechette, Pierre, 1994. "The Effect of Taxes on Labor Supply in the Underground Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 231-54, March.
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