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Optimal tax enforcement under prospect theory

Author

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  • Amedeo Piolatto

    () (Universitat de Barcelona & IEB)

  • Gwenola Trotin

    () (EQUIPPE, Université Charles-de-Gaulle Lille 3 & GREQAM-IDEP, Université de la Mediterranée)

Abstract

Prospect Theory (PT) has become the most credited alternative to Expected Utility Theory (EUT) as a theory of decision under uncertainty. This paper characterises the optimal income tax and audit schemes under tax evasion, when taxpayers behave as predicted by PT. We show that the standard EUT results keep holding under PT, under even weaker conditions. Under fair assumptions on the reference income and on the utility function of taxpayers, we show that the optimal audit probability function is non-increasing and the optimal tax function is nondecreasing and concave.

Suggested Citation

  • Amedeo Piolatto & Gwenola Trotin, 2011. "Optimal tax enforcement under prospect theory," Working Papers 2011/29, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  • Handle: RePEc:ieb:wpaper:2011/11/doc2011-29
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    3. Parkash Chander, 1998. "A Stronger Measure of Risk Aversion and a General Characterization of Optimal Income Tax Enforcement," Economics Working Paper Archive 399, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
    4. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1996. "Tax evasion and the optimum general income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 235-249, May.
    5. Mirrlees, James A, 1997. "Information and Incentives: The Economics of Carrots and Sticks," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(444), pages 1311-1329, September.
    6. Alain Trannoy & Gwenola Trotin, 2010. "Do High Tax and Tax Evasion go Hand in Hand? The Non-Linear Case," IDEP Working Papers 1004, Institut d'economie publique (IDEP), Marseille, France, revised Jul 2010.
    7. Ravi Kanbur & Jukka Pirttilä & Matti Tuomala, 2008. "Moral Hazard, Income Taxation and Prospect Theory," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(2), pages 321-337, June.
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    12. Parkash Chander & Louis L. Wilde, 1998. "A General Characterization of Optimal Income Tax Enforcement," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(1), pages 165-183.
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    Cited by:

    1. Luigi Mittone & Fabrizio Panebianco & Alessandro Santoro, 2016. "The Bomb-Crater Effect of Tax Audits: Beyond Misperception of Chance," Working Papers 583, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    tax evasion; income tax enforcement; prospect theory;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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