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You've Got Mail: A Randomised Field Experiment on Tax Evasion

Author

Listed:
  • Kristina M. Bott

    (Christian Michelsen Institute)

  • Alexander Cappelen

    (Norwegian School of Economics)

  • Erik Ø. Sørensen

    (Norwegian School of Economics)

  • Bertil Tungodden

    (Norwegian School of Economics)

Abstract

We report from a large-scale randomized field experiment conducted on a unique sample of more than 15,000 taxpayers in Norway, who were likely to have misreported their foreign income. We find that the inclusion of a moral appeal or a sentence that increases the perceived probability of detection in a letter from the tax authorities almost doubled the average self-reported foreign income. The moral letter mainly works on the intensive margin, while the detection letter mainly works on the extensive margin. We also show that the detection letter has large long-term effects on tax compliance.

Suggested Citation

  • Kristina M. Bott & Alexander Cappelen & Erik Ø. Sørensen & Bertil Tungodden, 2017. "You've Got Mail: A Randomised Field Experiment on Tax Evasion," Working Papers 2017-051, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2017-051
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    Cited by:

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    11. Miguel Almunia & Jarkko Harju & Kaisa Kotakorpi & Janne Tukiainen & Jouko Verho, 2019. "Expanding access to administrative data: the case of tax authorities in Finland and the UK," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 26(3), pages 661-676, June.
    12. Antinyan, Armenak & Asatryan, Zareh, 2019. "Nudging for tax compliance: A meta-analysis," ZEW Discussion Papers 19-055, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    13. Björn Bos & Moritz A. Drupp & Jasper N. Meya & Martin F. Quaas, 2020. "Moral Suasion and the Private Provision of Public Goods: Evidence from the COVID-19 Pandemic," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 76(4), pages 1117-1138, August.
    14. Holzmeister, Felix & Huber, Jürgen & Kirchler, Michael & Schwaiger, Rene, 2022. "Nudging debtors to pay their debt: Two randomized controlled trials," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 198(C), pages 535-551.
    15. Eugen Dimant & Tobias Gesche, 2021. "Nudging Enforcers: How Norm Perceptions and Motives for Lying Shape Sanctions," CESifo Working Paper Series 9385, CESifo.
    16. Benoît Le Maux & Sarah Necker, 2023. "Honesty Nudges: Effect Varies with Content but Not with Timing," CESifo Working Paper Series 10221, CESifo.
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    18. Chen, Jingnan (Cecilia) & Fonseca, Miguel A. & Grimshaw, Shaun B., 2021. "When a nudge is (not) enough: Experiments on social information and incentives," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 134(C).
    19. Castro, Juan Francisco & Velásquez, Daniel & Beltrán, Arlette & Yamada, Gustavo, 2022. "The direct and indirect effects of messages on tax compliance: Experimental evidence from Peru," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 203(C), pages 483-518.
    20. Beshears, John & Kosowsky, Harry, 2020. "Nudging: Progress to date and future directions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 161(S), pages 3-19.
    21. Antinyan, Armenak & Horváth, Gergely & Jia, Mofei, 2020. "Curbing the consumption of positional goods: Behavioral interventions versus taxation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 1-21.
    22. Libor Dušek & Nicolas Pardo & Christian Traxler, 2022. "Salience and Timely Compliance: Evidence from Speeding Tickets," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 41(2), pages 426-449, March.
    23. Tsikas, Stefanos A. & Wagener, Andreas, 2018. "Bringing Tax Avoiders to Light: Moral Framing and Shaming in a Public Goods Experiment," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-633, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    taxation; tax evasion; field experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance

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