IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Enlisting Employees in Improving Payroll-Tax Compliance: Evidence from Mexico

  • Kumler, Todd J.

    ()

    (Columbia University)

  • Verhoogen, Eric

    ()

    (Columbia University)

  • Frias, Judith A.

    ()

    (Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS))

Non-compliance of firms with tax regulations is a major constraint on state capacity in developing countries. We focus on an arguably under-appreciated dimension of non-compliance: under-reporting of wages by formal firms to evade payroll taxes. We develop a simple partial-equilibrium model of endogenous compliance by heterogeneous firms to guide the empirical investigation. We then compare two independent sources of individual-level wage information from Mexico – firms' wage reports to the Mexican social security agency and workers' responses to a household labor-force survey – to investigate the extent of wage under-reporting and how it responded to an important change in the social security system. We document that under-reporting by formal firms is extensive, and that compliance is better in larger firms. Using a difference-in-differences strategy based on the 1997 Mexican pension reform, which effectively tied pension benefits more closely to reported wages for younger workers than for older workers, we show that the reform led to a relative decline in under-reporting for younger workers. Within metro area/sector/firm size cells, the decline in under-reporting was greater in cells initially employing a younger workforce on average. The empirical patterns are consistent with our theoretical model and suggest that giving employees incentives and information to improve the accuracy of employer reports can be an effective way to improve payroll-tax compliance.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp7591.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7591.

as
in new window

Length: 63 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7591
Contact details of provider: Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org

Order Information: Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Email:


References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Mirco Tonin, 2007. "Minimum Wage and Tax Evasion: Theory and Evidence," IEHAS Discussion Papers 0701, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
  2. Jose Scheinkman & Aureo de Paula, 2007. "The Informal Sector," 2007 Meeting Papers 117, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Pissarides, Christopher A. & Weber, Guglielmo, 1989. "An expenditure-based estimate of Britain's black economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 17-32, June.
  4. Jesse Rothstein, 2009. "Is the EITC as Good as an NIT? Conditional Cash Transfers and Tax Incidence," Working Papers 1160, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  5. Dharmapala, Dhammika & Slemrod, Joel & Wilson, John Douglas, 2011. "Tax policy and the missing middle: Optimal tax remittance with firm-level administrative costs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9-10), pages 1036-1047, October.
  6. Emmanuel Saez & Manos Matsaganis & Panos Tsakloglou, 2012. "Earnings Determination and Taxes: Evidence From a Cohort-Based Payroll Tax Reform in Greece," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(1), pages 493-533.
  7. Erik Hurst & Geng Li & Benjamin Pugsley, 2014. "Are Household Surveys Like Tax Forms? Evidence from Income Underreporting of the Self-Employed," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(1), pages 19-33, March.
  8. Benjamin A. Olken & Rohini Pande, 2012. "Corruption in Developing Countries," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 479-509, 07.
  9. Emma Aguila, 2011. "Personal Retirement Accounts and Saving," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 1-24, November.
  10. Serguey Braguinsky & Sergey Mityakov & Andrey Liscovich, 2014. "Direct Estimation of Hidden Earnings: Evidence from Russian Administrative Data," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(2), pages 281 - 319.
  11. Keen, Michael & Lockwood, Ben, 2007. "The Value Added Tax : Its Causes and Consequences," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 801, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  12. Roger Gordon & Wei Li, 2005. "Tax Structure in Developing Countries: Many Puzzles and a Possible Explanation," NBER Working Papers 11267, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Eric A. Verhoogen, 2008. "Trade, Quality Upgrading, and Wage Inequality in the Mexican Manufacturing Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(2), pages 489-530, 05.
  15. Sara G. Castellanos & Rodrigo Garcia-Verdu & David S. Kaplan, 2004. "Nominal Wage Rigidities in Mexico: Evidence from Social Security Records," NBER Working Papers 10383, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Kopczuk, Wojciech & Marion, Justin & Muehlegger, Erich & Slemrod, Joel, 2013. "Do the Laws of Tax Incidence Hold? Point of Collection and the Pass-Through of State Diesel Taxes," Working Paper Series rwp13-027, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  17. Joel Slemrod, 1998. "A General Model of the Behavioral Response to Taxation," NBER Working Papers 6582, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Tore Olsen & Luigi Pistaferri, 2011. "Adjustment Costs, Firm Responses, and Micro vs. Macro Labor Supply Elasticities: Evidence from Danish Tax Records," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 749-804.
  19. Miriam Bruhn, 2011. "License to Sell: The Effect of Business Registration Reform on Entrepreneurial Activity in Mexico," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(1), pages 382-386, February.
  20. Justin Marion & Erich Muehlegger, 2008. "Measuring Illegal Activity and the Effects of Regulatory Innovation: Tax Evasion and the Dyeing of Untaxed Diesel," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 633-666, 08.
  21. Henrik J. Kleven & Mazhar Waseem, 2013. "Using Notches to Uncover Optimization Frictions and Structural Elasticities: Theory and Evidence from Pakistan," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(2), pages 669-723.
  22. David Kaplan & Eduardo Piedra & Enrique Seira, 2007. "Are Burdensome Registration Procedures an Important Barrier on Firm Creation? Evidence from Mexico," Working Papers 0701, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  23. Carlos Sales-Sarrapy & Fernando Solis-Soberon & Alejandro Villagomez-Amezcua, 1998. "Pension System Reform: The Mexican Case," NBER Chapters, in: Privatizing Social Security, pages 135-175 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Burgess, Robin & Stern, Nicholas, 1993. "Taxation and Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 762-830, June.
  25. Marcelo Bergolo & Guillermo Cruces, 2014. "Work and tax evasion incentive effects of social insurance programs. Evidence from an employment-based benefit extension," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0161, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  26. Emmanuel Saez, 1999. "Do Taxpayers Bunch at Kink Points?," NBER Working Papers 7366, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Elek, Peter & Köllő, János & Reizer, Balázs & Szabó, Péter A., 2011. "Detecting Wage Under-reporting Using a Double Hurdle Model," IZA Discussion Papers 6224, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  28. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & Chad Syverson, 2005. "Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?," NBER Working Papers 11555, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Dina Pomeranz, 2013. "No Taxation without Information: Deterrence and Self-Enforcement in the Value Added Tax," NBER Working Papers 19199, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Fisman, Raymond & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2001. "Tax Rates and Tax Evasion: Evidence from 'Missing Imports' in China," CEPR Discussion Papers 3089, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  31. Olken, Benjamin A., 2006. "Corruption and the costs of redistribution: Micro evidence from Indonesia," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 853-870, May.
  32. Kaplan, David S. & Piedra, Eduardo & Seira, Enrique, 2011. "Entry regulation and business start-ups: Evidence from Mexico," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(11), pages 1501-1515.
  33. de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David & Woodruff, Christopher, 2012. "The demand for, and consequences of, formalization among informal firms in Sri Lanka," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5991, The World Bank.
  34. Sebastian Galiani & Federico Weinschelbaum, 2007. "Modeling Informality Formally: Households and Firms," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0047, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  35. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Klara Sabirianova Peter, 2009. "Myth and Reality of Flat Tax Reform: Micro Estimates of Tax Evasion Response and Welfare Effects in Russia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(3), pages 504-554, 06.
  36. Paul Niehaus & Sandip Sukhtankar, 2013. "Corruption Dynamics: The Golden Goose Effect," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 230-69, November.
  37. Rauch, James E., 1991. "Modelling the informal sector formally," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 33-47, January.
  38. Matias Busso & Maria Victoria Fazio & Santiago Levy Algazi, 2012. "(In)Formal and (Un)Productive: The Productivity Costs of Excessive Informality in Mexico," Research Department Publications 4789, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  39. Wojciech Kopczuk & Joel Slemrod, 2006. "Putting Firms into Optimal Tax Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 130-134, May.
  40. Fabian Duarte & Justine S. Hastings, 2012. "Fettered Consumers and Sophisticated Firms: Evidence from Mexico's Privatized Social Security Market," NBER Working Papers 18582, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  41. Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Emmanuel Saez, 2009. "Why Can Modern Governments Tax So Much? An Agency Model of Firms as Fiscal Intermediaries," NBER Working Papers 15218, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  42. Aureo de Paula & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2009. "The Informal Sector: An Equilibrium Model and Some Empirical Evidence from Brazil," PIER Working Paper Archive 09-044, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  43. Dominik H. Enste & Friedrich Schneider, 2000. "Shadow Economies: Size, Causes, and Consequences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 77-114, March.
  44. Thomas Chaney, 2008. "Distorted Gravity: The Intensive and Extensive Margins of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1707-21, September.
  45. Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Martin B. Knudsen & Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Søren Pedersen & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Unwilling or Unable to Cheat? Evidence From a Tax Audit Experiment in Denmark," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(3), pages 651-692, 05.
  46. Best, Michael & Brockmeyer, Anne & Kleven, Henrik & Spinnewijn, Johannes & Waseem, Mazhar, 2013. "Production vs Revenue Efficiency With Limited Tax Capacity: Theory and Evidence From Pakistan," CEPR Discussion Papers 9717, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7591. 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)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.