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Compliance Behavior in Networks: Evidence from a Field Experiment

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  • Drago, Francesco

    () (University of Catania)

  • Mengel, Friederike

    () (University of Essex)

  • Traxler, Christian

    () (Hertie School of Governance)

Abstract

This paper studies the spread of compliance behavior in neighborhood networks involving over 500,000 households in Austria. We exploit random variation from a field experiment which varied the content of mailings sent to potential evaders of TV license fees. Our data reveal a strong treatment spillover: 'untreated' households, who were not part of the experimental sample, are more likely to switch from evasion to compliance in response to the mailings received by their network neighbors. We analyze the spillover within a model of communication in networks based on DeGroot (1974). Consistent with the model, we find that (i) the spillover increases with the treated households' eigenvector centrality and that (ii) local concentration of equally treated households produces a lower spillover. These findings carry important implications for enforcement policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Drago, Francesco & Mengel, Friederike & Traxler, Christian, 2015. "Compliance Behavior in Networks: Evidence from a Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 9443, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9443
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    Cited by:

    1. Wolfgang Frimmel & Martin Halla & Jörg Paetzold, 2019. "The Intergenerational Causal Effect of Tax Evasion: Evidence from the Commuter Tax Allowance in Austria," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 17(6), pages 1843-1880.
    2. Pomeranz, Dina D. & Vila-Belda, José, 2019. "Taking State-Capacity Research to the Field: Insights from Collaborations with Tax Authorities," CEPR Discussion Papers 13688, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Doerrenberg, Philipp & Peichl, Andreas, 2017. "Tax morale and the role of social norms and reciprocity: Evidence from a randomized survey experiment," ZEW Discussion Papers 17-045, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    4. Boning, William C. & Guyton, John & Hodge, Ronald & Slemrod, Joel, 2020. "Heard it through the grapevine: The direct and network effects of a tax enforcement field experiment on firms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 190(C).
    5. Brollo, Fernanda & Kaufmann, Katja Maria & Ferrara, Eliana La, 2017. "Learning about the Enforcement of Conditional Welfare Programs: Evidence from Brazil," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 317, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    6. Bastani, Spencer & Giebe, Thomas & Miao, Chizheng, 2020. "Ethnicity and tax filing behavior," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C).
    7. Garz, Marcel & Pagels, Verena, 2018. "Cautionary tales: Celebrities, the news media, and participation in tax amnesties," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 155(C), pages 288-300.
    8. Giulia Mascagni, 2018. "From The Lab To The Field: A Review Of Tax Experiments," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(2), pages 273-301, April.
    9. Lopez-Luzuriaga, Andrea & Scartascini, Carlos, 2019. "Compliance spillovers across taxes: The role of penalties and detection," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 518-534.
    10. Juan F. Castro & Daniel Velásquez & Arlette Beltrán & Gustavo Yamada, 2020. "Spillovers and Long Run Effects of Messages on Tax Compliance: Experimental Evidence from Peru," Working Papers 174, Peruvian Economic Association.
    11. Perez-Truglia, Ricardo & Troiano, Ugo, 2018. "Shaming tax delinquents," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 120-137.
    12. Meiselman, Ben S., 2018. "Ghostbusting in Detroit: Evidence on nonfilers from a controlled field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 180-193.
    13. Di Gioacchino, Debora & Fichera, Domenico, 2020. "Tax evasion and tax morale: A social network analysis," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    14. Essi Eerola & Tuomas Kosonen & Kaisa Kotakorpi & Teemu Lyytikäinen, 2019. "Tax Compliance in the RentalHousing Market: Evidence from aField Experiment," Discussion Papers 126, Aboa Centre for Economics.
    15. Adena, Maja & Hager, Anselm, 2020. "Does online fundraising increase charitable giving? A nation-wide field experiment on Facebook," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change SP II 2020-302, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    16. Riedel, Nadine & Strohmaier, Kristina & Lediga, Collen, 2019. "Spatial Tax Enforcement Spillovers: Evidence from South Africa," VfS Annual Conference 2019 (Leipzig): 30 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall - Democracy and Market Economy 203500, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    17. Paul Carrillo & Edgar Castro & Carlos Scartascini, 2017. "Do Rewards Work?: Evidence from the Randomization of Public Works," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 98459, Inter-American Development Bank.
    18. Rodrigo Ceni & Gonzalo Salas, 2019. "Transfer Program Enforcement and Children's Time Allocation," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 19-17, Instituto de Economia - IECON.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    neighborhood networks; social learning; spillover; evasion; field experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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