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Taxes and Benefits: Two Distinct Options to Cheat on the State?

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Abstract

Economists have studied many aspects of tax evasion. The vast literature has concentrated on the individual taxpayer’s decision on avoiding taxes by underreporting income. However no comprehensive investigation of the individual taxpayer’s decision on claiming unjustified subsidies (e. g. by underreporting income) exists so far. Employing Austrian survey data we show that the basic attitude towards avoiding taxes (tax morale) and claiming unjustified subsidies (benefit morale) have different determinants. Our applied econometric framework relaxes the often stated assumption of the exogeneity of income as an explaining variable of tax morale. Furthermore we find empirical evidence that tax morale and benefit morale have different impact on actual behavior: Whereas a low benefit morale leads indeed to unjustified claims on benefits and therefore to higher income, we find no statistically significant effect of tax morale on tax evasion. These different determinants and effects of tax morale and benefit morale can be explained by differences in the deterrence factors from the traditional economic approach, by alternative theories or simply by more opportunities to cheat on the state by unjustified subsidies in contrast to avoiding taxes.

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  • Martin Halla & Friedrich G. Schneider, 2005. "Taxes and Benefits: Two Distinct Options to Cheat on the State?," Economics working papers 2005-05, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  • Handle: RePEc:jku:econwp:2005_05
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    Cited by:

    1. Martin Halla & Mario Lackner & Friedrich G. Schneider, 2010. "An Empirical Analysis of the Dynamics of the Welfare State: The Case of Benefit Morale," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(1), pages 55-74, February.
    2. Justina A.V. Fischer & Benno Torgler, 2013. "Do Positional Concerns Destroy Social Capital: Evidence From 26 Countries," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(2), pages 1542-1565, April.
    3. Schneider Friedrich, 2010. "The Influence of Public Institutions on the Shadow Economy: An Empirical Investigation for OECD Countries," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(3), pages 441-468, December.
    4. Daniel Arnold, 2013. "Benefit Morale and Cross-Country Diversity in Sick Pay Entitlements," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 27-45, February.
    5. Gabriele Ruiu & Gaetano Lisi, 2011. "Tax Morale, Slippery-Slope Framework and Tax Compliance: A Cross-section Analysis," Working Papers 2011-05, Universita' di Cassino, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche.
    6. Benno Torgler & Justina A.V. Fischer, 2006. "Does Envy Destroy Social Fundamentals? The Impact of Relative Income Position on Social Capital," Working Papers 2006.38, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    7. Giorgio Coricelli & Mateus Joffily & Claude Montmarquette & Marie Villeval, 2010. "Cheating, emotions, and rationality: an experiment on tax evasion," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 13(2), pages 226-247, June.
    8. Lars P. Feld & Friedrich Schneider, 2011. "Survey on the Shadow Economy and Undeclared Work in OECD Countries," Chapters, in: Friedrich Schneider (ed.), Handbook on the Shadow Economy, chapter 2, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Friedrich Heinemann, 2011. "Economic crisis and morale," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 35-49, August.
    10. Justina A.V. Fischer & Benno Torgler, 2013. "Do Positional Concerns Destroy Social Capital: Evidence From 26 Countries," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(2), pages 1542-1565, April.
    11. Mughal, Khurrum & Schneider, Friedrich, 2018. "Shadow Economy in Pakistan: Its Size and Interaction with Official Economy," MPRA Paper 87087, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Friedrich G. Schneider, 2006. "Shadow Economies and Corruption all over the World: What do we really know?," Economics working papers 2006-17, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    13. Fischer, Justina A. V. & Torgler, Benno, 2007. "Social Captial and Relative Income Concerns: Evidence from 26 Countries," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt8sv0k59c, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
    14. Mathieu Lefebvre & Pierre Pestieau & Arno Riedl & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2011. "Tax Evasion, Welfare Fraud, and the « Broken Windows » Effect : An Experiment in Belgium, France and the Netherlands," Working Papers 1116, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
    15. Friedrich Heinemann, 2008. "Is the Welfare State Self‐Destructive? A Study of Government Benefit Morale," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(2), pages 237-257, May.
    16. Lars P. Feld & Friedrich Schneider, 2010. "Survey on the Shadow Economy and Undeclared Earnings in OECD Countries," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 11(2), pages 109-149, May.
    17. Fischer, Justina A.V. & Torgler, Benno, 2006. "Does Envy Destroy Social Fundamentals? The Impact of Relative Income Position," Economic Theory and Applications Working Papers 12177, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
    18. Martin Halla, 2011. "The Link between the Intrinsic Motivation to Comply and Compliance Behaviour: A Critical Appraisal of Existing Evidence," Chapters, in: Friedrich Schneider (ed.), Handbook on the Shadow Economy, chapter 11, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    19. Heinemann Friedrich, 2010. "Ansatzpunkte einer Gewissensökonomik / Approaches to the economics of consciense," ORDO. Jahrbuch für die Ordnung von Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, De Gruyter, vol. 61(1), pages 151-168, January.
    20. Friedrich Schneider, 2009. "Size and Development of the Shadow Economy in Germany, Austria and Other oecd-Countries. Some Preliminary Findings," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 60(5), pages 1079-1116.
    21. Baumann, Florian & Brändle, Tobias, 2012. "Self-employment, educational attainment and employment protection legislation," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(6), pages 846-859.
    22. Lago-Peñas, Ignacio & Lago-Peñas, Santiago, 2010. "The determinants of tax morale in comparative perspective: Evidence from European countries," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 441-453, December.
    23. Amedeo Piolatto, 2015. "Itemised Deductions: A Device to Reduce Tax Evasion," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 16(4), pages 422-438, November.
    24. Schneider Friedrich, 2015. "Schwarzarbeit, Steuerhinterziehung und Korruption: Was ökonomische und nicht-ökonomische Faktoren zur Erklärung beitragen," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 16(4), pages 412-425, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    tax; subsidies; tax morale; benefit morale; tax evasion; benefit fraud;

    JEL classification:

    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance

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