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The Bomb-Crater Effect of Tax Audits: Beyond Misperception of Chance

Author

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  • Luigi Mittone
  • Fabrizio Panebianco
  • Alessandro Santoro

Abstract

In this paper, we run a laboratory experiment where the information set is relatively rich, and, in particular, it includes audits on other taxpayers. At the same time, the implementation of the Bayesian updating process for the subjective probability to be audited is fairly simple. By doing so, we are able to elicit a range of consistent but heterogeneous probability beliefs and to distinguish between Bayesian and non-Bayesian subjects. We obtain two major results concerning Bayesian subjects. First, they exhibit strong and robust short-run BoCE. Second, they are seemingly not affected by audits on other taxpayers in their compliance decision. These results are robust to different definitions of Bayesianity and to different specifications. They confl ict with the evidence that Bayesian agents do perceive correctly the chance to be audited. In turn, this suggests that existing explanations of the BoCE are not entirely satisfactory and that alternative theories, possibly based on the Duality approach, are needed. KEYWORDS: Bomb-crater effect, Bayesian Updating, Behavioral Duality. JEL CODES: C91,D81,H26

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:583
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Webley, Paul, 1987. "Audit probabilities and tax evasion in a business simulation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 267-270.
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    4. repec:pri:cepsud:125krueger is not listed on IDEAS
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    12. Kastlunger, Barbara & Kirchler, Erich & Mittone, Luigi & Pitters, Julia, 2009. "Sequences of audits, tax compliance, and taxpaying strategies," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 405-418, June.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • 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

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