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Tax Evasion, Welfare Fraud, and "The Broken Windows" Effect: An Experiment in Belgium, France and the Netherlands

  • Lefèbvre, Mathieu

    ()

    (CREPP, Université de Liège)

  • Pestieau, Pierre

    ()

    (CREPP, Université de Liège)

  • Riedl, Arno

    ()

    (Maastricht University)

  • Villeval, Marie Claire

    ()

    (CNRS, GATE)

In a series of experiments conducted in Belgium (Wallonia and Flanders), France and the Netherlands, we compare behavior regarding tax evasion and welfare dodging, with and without information about others' behavior. Subjects have to decide between a 'registered' income, the realization of which will be known to the tax authority for sure, and an 'unregistered' income that will only be known with some probability. This unregistered income comes from self-employment in the Tax treatment and from black labor supplementing some unemployment compensation in the Welfare treatment. Subjects have then to decide on whether reporting their income or not, knowing the risk of detection. The results show that (i) individuals evade more in the Welfare treatment than in the Tax treatment; (ii) many subjects choose an option that allows for tax evasion or welfare fraud but report their income honestly anyway; (iii) examples of low compliance tend to increase tax evasion while examples of high compliance exert no influence; (iv) tax evasion is more frequent in France and the Netherlands; Walloons evade taxes less than the Flemish. There is no cross-country difference in welfare dodging.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5609.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5609
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  1. Gerxhani, Klarita & Schram, Arthur, 2006. "Tax evasion and income source: A comparative experimental study," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 402-422, June.
  2. William Brock & Steven N. Durlauf, 2000. "Interactions-Based Models," NBER Technical Working Papers 0258, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  4. Giorgio Coricelli & Matteus Joffily & Claude Montmarquette & Marie Claire Villeval, 2010. "Cheating, Emotions, and Rationality: An Experiment on Tax Evasion," Post-Print halshs-00462067, HAL.
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  11. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1974. "Income tax evasion: A theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 201-202, May.
  12. Baldry, J. C., 1986. "Tax evasion is not a gamble : A report on two experiments," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 333-335.
  13. Benno Torgler & Markus Schaffner & Alison Macintyre, 2007. "Tax Compliance, Tax Morale, and Governance Quality," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0727, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  14. Cohen, Michele & Jaffray, Jean-Yves & Said, Tanios, 1987. "Experimental comparison of individual behavior under risk and under uncertainty for gains and for losses," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 1-22, February.
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  24. Frank A. Cowell, 1990. "Cheating the Government: The Economics of Evasion," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262532484, June.
  25. 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.
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  27. Dubin, Jeffrey A. & Graetz, Michael J. & Wilde, Louis L., 1990. "The Effect of Audit Rates on the Federal Individual Income Tax, 1977-1986," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 43(4), pages 395-409, December.
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  29. Alm, James & McClelland, Gary H. & Schulze, William D., 1992. "Why do people pay taxes?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 21-38, June.
  30. 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.
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