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Tax Evasion, Information Reporting, and the Regressive Bias Hypothesis


  • Simon Halphen Boserup

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Jori Veng Pinje

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)


A robust prediction from the tax evasion literature is that optimal auditing induces a regressive bias in effective tax rates compared to statutory rates. If correct, this will have important distributional consequences. Nevertheless, the regressive bias hypothesis has never been tested empirically. Using a unique data set, we provide evidence in favor of the regressive bias prediction but only when controlling for the tax agency's use of third-party information in predicting true incomes. In aggregate data, the regressive bias vanishes because of the systematic use of third-party information. These results are obtained both in simple reduced-form regressions and in a data-calibrated state-of-the-art model.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Halphen Boserup & Jori Veng Pinje, 2010. "Tax Evasion, Information Reporting, and the Regressive Bias Hypothesis," EPRU Working Paper Series 2010-13, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:epruwp:10-13

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. A. B. Atkinson & J. E. Søgaard, 2013. "The long-run history of income inequality in Denmark: Top incomes from 1870 to 2010," EPRU Working Paper Series 2013-01, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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