IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/iza/izadps/dp11535.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Tax Evasion on a Social Network

Author

Listed:
  • Gamannossi degl’Innocenti, Duccio

    () (University of Exeter)

  • Rablen, Matthew D.

    () (University of Sheffield)

Abstract

We relate tax evasion behavior to a substantial literature on self and social comparison in judgements. Taxpayers engage in tax evasion as a means to boost their expected consumption relative to others in their "local" social network, and relative to past consumption. The unique Nash equilibrium of the model relates optimal evasion to a (Bonacich) measure of network centrality: more central taxpayers evade more. The indirect revenue effects from auditing are shown to be ordinally equivalent to a related Bonacich centrality. We generate networks corresponding closely to the observed structure of social networks observed empirically. In particular, our networks contain celebrity taxpayers, whose consumption is widely observed, and who are systematically of higher wealth. In this context we show that, if the tax authority can observe the social network, it is able to raise its audit revenue by around six percent.

Suggested Citation

  • Gamannossi degl’Innocenti, Duccio & Rablen, Matthew D., 2018. "Tax Evasion on a Social Network," IZA Discussion Papers 11535, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11535
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp11535.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Neumark, David & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1998. "Relative income concerns and the rise in married women's employment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 157-183, October.
    2. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & José A. Scheinkman, 1996. "Crime and Social Interactions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 507-548.
    3. Philip H. Dybvig, 1995. "Dusenberry's Ratcheting of Consumption: Optimal Dynamic Consumption and Investment Given Intolerance for any Decline in Standard of Living," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(2), pages 287-313.
    4. Myles, Gareth D. & Naylor, Robin A., 1996. "A model of tax evasion with group conformity and social customs," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 49-66, April.
    5. Michael J. Boskin & Eytan Sheshinski, 1978. "Optimal Redistributive Taxation When Individual Welfare Depends upon Relative Income," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 92(4), pages 589-601.
    6. AndrewE. Clark & Claudia Senik, 2010. "Who Compares to Whom? The Anatomy of Income Comparisons in Europe," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(544), pages 573-594, May.
    7. S. Redner, 1998. "How popular is your paper? An empirical study of the citation distribution," The European Physical Journal B: Condensed Matter and Complex Systems, Springer;EDP Sciences, vol. 4(2), pages 131-134, July.
    8. Ormerod, Paul & Roach, Andrew P, 2004. "The Medieval inquisition: scale-free networks and the suppression of heresy," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 339(3), pages 645-652.
    9. Loewenstein, George F & Sicherman, Nachum, 1991. "Do Workers Prefer Increasing Wage Profiles?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 67-84, January.
    10. John Muellbauer, 1988. "Habits, Rationality and Myopia in the Life Cycle Consumption Function," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 9, pages 47-70.
    11. Jeffrey A. Dubin, 2007. "Criminal Investigation Enforcement Activities and Taxpayer Noncompliance," Public Finance Review, , vol. 35(4), pages 500-529, July.
    12. Traxler, Christian, 2010. "Social norms and conditional cooperative taxpayers," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 89-103, March.
    13. Edlin, Aaron S. & Shannon, Chris, 1998. "Strict Monotonicity in Comparative Statics," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 201-219, July.
    14. James Alm & Kim M. Bloomquist & Michael McKee, 2017. "When You Know Your Neighbour Pays Taxes: Information, Peer Effects and Tax Compliance," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 38, pages 587-613, December.
    15. Matthew O. Jackson & Brian W. Rogers & Yves Zenou, 2017. "The Economic Consequences of Social-Network Structure," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(1), pages 49-95, March.
    16. John K.-H Quah, 2007. "The Comparative Statics of Constrained Optimization Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(2), pages 401-431, March.
    17. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2005. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 963-1002.
    18. Stark, Oded & Taylor, J Edward, 1991. "Migration Incentives, Migration Types: The Role of Relative Deprivation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(408), pages 1163-1178, September.
    19. Alm, James & Yunus, Mohammad, 2009. "Spatiality and Persistence in U.S. Individual Income Tax Compliance," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 62(1), pages 101-124, March.
    20. MatthewD. Rablen, 2008. "Relativity, Rank and the Utility of Income," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(528), pages 801-821, April.
    21. Andreas BUEHN & Friedrich SCHNEIDER, 2016. "Size and Development of Tax Evasion in 38 OECD Coutries: What do we (not) know?," Journal of Economics and Political Economy, KSP Journals, vol. 3(1), pages 1-11, March.
    22. Koehne, Sebastian & Kuhn, Moritz, 2015. "Optimal taxation in a habit formation economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 31-39.
    23. Redzo Mujcic & Paul Frijters, 2013. "Economic choices and status: measuring preferences for income rank," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(1), pages 47-73, January.
    24. Kim Bloomquist, 2011. "Tax Compliance as an Evolutionary Coordination Game: An Agent-Based Approach," Public Finance Review, , vol. 39(1), pages 25-49, January.
    25. Postlewaite, Andrew, 1998. "The social basis of interdependent preferences," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 779-800, May.
    26. Layard, Richard, 1980. "Human Satisfactions and Public Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(363), pages 737-750, December.
    27. Levaggi, Rosella & Menoncin, Francesco, 2013. "Optimal dynamic tax evasion," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 2157-2167.
    28. Constantinides, George M, 1990. "Habit Formation: A Resolution of the Equity Premium Puzzle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 519-543, June.
    29. Alessandra Guariglia, 2002. "Consumption, habit formation, and precautionary saving: evidence from the British Household Panel Survey," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(1), pages 1-19, January.
    30. Rosella Levaggi & Francesco Menoncin, 2016. "Dynamic tax evasion with audits based on visible consumption," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 119(2), pages 131-146, October.
    31. Coelho, Ricardo & Richmond, Peter & Barry, Joseph & Hutzler, Stefan, 2008. "Double power laws in income and wealth distributions," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 387(15), pages 3847-3851.
    32. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative Income, Happiness, and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 95-144, March.
    33. Gabriele, Mazzolini & Laura, Pagani & Alessandro, Santoro, 2017. "The deterrence effect of real-world operational tax audits," Working Papers 359, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised 03 Feb 2017.
    34. Daniel McFadden, 2006. "Free Markets and Fettered Consumers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 5-29, March.
    35. Michele Bernasconi & Rosella Levaggi & Francesco Menoncin, 2016. "Dynamic Tax Evasion with Habit Formation," Working Papers 2016:31, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
    36. Baldry, Jonathan C, 1987. "Income Tax Evasion and the Tax Schedule: Some Experimental Results," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 42(3), pages 357-383.
    37. Sen, Amartya, 1983. "Poor, Relatively Speaking," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 153-169, July.
    38. Alm, James & Jackson, Betty R. & McKee, Michael, 2009. "Getting the word out: Enforcement information dissemination and compliance behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3-4), pages 392-402, April.
    39. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Ivan Werning, 2005. "The Equilibrium Distribution of Income and the Market for Status," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 282-310, April.
    40. Goerke, Laszlo, 2013. "Relative consumption and tax evasion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 52-65.
    41. repec:adr:anecst:y:1988:i:9:p:03 is not listed on IDEAS
    42. Korobow, Adam & Johnson, Chris & Axtell, Robert, 2007. "An Agent–Based Model of Tax Compliance With Social Networks," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 60(3), pages 589-610, September.
    43. Sascha Hokamp & Michael Pickhardt, 2010. "Income Tax Evasion in a Society of Heterogeneous Agents - Evidence from an Agent-based Model," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(4), pages 541-553.
    44. Hashimzade, Nigar & Myles, Gareth D. & Page, Frank & Rablen, Matthew D., 2014. "Social networks and occupational choice: The endogenous formation of attitudes and beliefs about tax compliance," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 134-146.
    45. Hokamp, Sascha, 2014. "Dynamics of tax evasion with back auditing, social norm updating, and public goods provision – An agent-based simulation," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 187-199.
    46. Hashimzade, Nigar & Myles, Gareth D. & Rablen, Matthew D., 2016. "Predictive analytics and the targeting of audits," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 130-145.
    47. Yannis M. Ioannides, 2012. "From Neighborhoods to Nations: The Economics of Social Interactions," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 9892, June.
    48. Carol Horton Tremblay & Victor J. Tremblay, 2010. "The Neglect of Monotone Comparative Statics Methods," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(2), pages 177-193, March.
    49. Harald Uhlig & Lars Ljungqvist, 2000. "Tax Policy and Aggregate Demand Management under Catching Up with the Joneses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 356-366, June.
    50. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 2000. "Habit Formation in Consumption and Its Implications for Monetary-Policy Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 367-390, June.
    51. Frank, Robert H. & Hutchens, Robert M., 1993. "Wages, seniority, and the demand for rising consumption profiles," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 251-276, August.
    52. David A. Chapman, 1998. "Habit Formation and Aggregate Consumption," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(5), pages 1223-1230, September.
    53. Alm, James & McKee, Michael, 2004. "Tax compliance as a coordination game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 297-312, July.
    54. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, June.
    55. repec:adr:anecst:y:1988:i:9 is not listed on IDEAS
    56. Bramoulle, Yann & Kranton, Rachel, 2007. "Public goods in networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 135(1), pages 478-494, July.
    57. Kim, Youngse, 2003. "Income distribution and equilibrium multiplicity in a stigma-based model of tax evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1591-1616, August.
    58. 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 363-373, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    tax evasion; social networks; network centrality; optimal auditing; social comparison; self comparison; habit; indirect effects; relative consumption;

    JEL classification:

    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11535. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak). General contact details of provider: http://www.iza.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.