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Tax Avoidance, Endogenous Social Norms, and the Comparison Income Effect

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  • Alessandro Balestrino

    (University of Pisa)

Abstract

We present a model of income tax avoidance with heterogenous agents, assuming the presence of a comparison income effect and of a psychic cost (disutility) of tax dodging. We analyse the policy preferences of the agents, and identify a median-voter political equilibrium. Paralleling previous results in the optimal taxation literature, we show that the comparison income effect calls for a high degree of progressivity of the income tax; additionally, we find that this tendence is strenghtened by the psychic cost of avoidance. We then investigate the source of the stigma attached to the act of avoidance and find that such stigma is motivated by the desire to make redistribution more effective, and that it is enhanced by the income comparison effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Alessandro Balestrino, "undated". "Tax Avoidance, Endogenous Social Norms, and the Comparison Income Effect," EPRU Working Paper Series 05-15, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics, revised Dec 2005.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:epruwp:05-15
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    File URL: http://www.econ.ku.dk/epru/files/wp/wp-05-15.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Alessandro Balestrino & Umberto Galmarini, 2003. "Imperfect Tax Compliance and the Optimal Provision of Public Goods," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 37-52, January.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Balestrino, Alessandro, 2010. "Tax avoidance and the endogenous formation of social norms," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 601-609, October.
    2. Vasilev, Aleksandar, 2013. "Fiscal policy in a Real-Business-Cycle model with labor-intensive government services and endogenous public sector wages and hours," EconStor Preprints 142338, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    3. Balestrino, Alessandro, 2008. "It is a theft but not a crime," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 455-469, June.
    4. Goerke, Laszlo, 2013. "Relative consumption and tax evasion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 52-65.
    5. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2011. "Tax Morale, Tax Evasion and the Shadow Economy," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Shadow Economy, chapter 10 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Luca Micheletto, 2011. "Optimal Nonlinear Redistributive Taxation and Public Good Provision in an Economy with Veblen Effects," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 13(1), pages 71-96, February.
    7. Alessandro Balestrino, 2012. "Taxes, Status Goods, and Piracy," CESifo Working Paper Series 3704, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Alessandro Balestrino, 2014. "Large Taxes, Status Goods, and Piracy," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 70(1), pages 97-115, March.
    9. Vasilev, Aleksandar, 2013. "Essays on Real Business Cycle Modeling and the Public Sector," EconStor Theses, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, number 130522.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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