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Fighting Income Tax Evasion with Positive Rewards: Experimental Evidence

  • Cécile Bazart
  • Michael Pickhardt

This paper provides experimental evidence regarding the influence of positive rewards on income tax evasion behavior. In particular, we experimentally test the impact of positive rewards in form of individual lottery winnings for honest taxpayers. Among other things, we find that these positive rewards lead to a significantly higher rate of tax compliance. Moreover, there are two gender effects. Males not only evade taxes to a much higher extent than females, they also show a stronger positive response to the lottery scheme. This allows us to draw some interesting policy recommendations.

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File URL: http://www.lameta.univ-montp1.fr/Documents/DR2009-01.pdf
File Function: First version, 2009
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier in its series Working Papers with number 09-01.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2009
Date of revision: Jun 2009
Handle: RePEc:lam:wpaper:09-01
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Web page: http://www.lameta.univ-montp1.fr/

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  1. Torgler, Benno, 2002. " Speaking to Theorists and Searching for Facts: Tax Morale and Tax Compliance in Experiments," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(5), pages 657-83, December.
  2. Pickhardt, Michael, 2006. "Fifty Years after Samuelson's “The Pure Theory of Public Expenditure”: What are we Left With?," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 28(04), pages 439-460, December.
  3. Chander, Parkash & Wilde, Louis L, 1998. "A General Characterization of Optimal Income Tax Enforcement," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(1), pages 165-83, January.
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  9. Robin Boadway & Motohiro Sato, 2000. "The Optimality of Punishing Only the Innocent: The Case of Tax Evasion," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 7(6), pages 641-664, December.
  10. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Benno Torgler, 2003. "Beyond Punishment: a tax compliance experiment with taxpayers in Costa Rica," Revista de Analisis Economico – Economic Analysis Review, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines, vol. 18(1), pages 27-56, June.
  12. Josef Falkinger & Herbert Walther, 1991. "Rewards Versus Penalties: on a New Policy against Tax Evasion," Public Finance Review, , vol. 19(1), pages 67-79, January.
  13. Becker, Winfried & Buchner, Heinz-Jurgen & Sleeking, Simon, 1987. "The impact of public transfer expenditures on tax evasion : An experimental approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 243-252, November.
  14. Fershtman, C. & Weiss,Y., 1995. "Social Rewards, Externalities and Stable Preferences," Papers 32-95, Tel Aviv.
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  16. Mookherjee, Dilip & Png, Ivan, 1989. "Optimal Auditing, Insurance, and Redistribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 399-415, May.
  17. Michael Pickhardt, 2005. "Some remarks on self-interest, the historical schools and the evolution of the theory of public goods," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 32(3), pages 275-293, September.
  18. Joel Slemrod & Shlomo Yitzhaki, 2000. "Tax Avoidance, Evasion, and Administration," NBER Working Papers 7473, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Frey, Bruno S & Jegen, Reto, 2001. " Motivation Crowding Theory," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 589-611, December.
  20. 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.
  21. Blumenthal, Marsha & Christian, Charles W. & Slemrod, Joel, 2001. "Do Normative Appeals Affect Tax Compliance? Evidence from a Controlled Experiment in Minnesota," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 1), pages 125-38, March.
  22. Slemrod, Joel & Blumenthal, Marsha & Christian, Charles, 2001. "Taxpayer response to an increased probability of audit: evidence from a controlled experiment in Minnesota," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 455-483, March.
  23. James M. Walker & Matthew A. Halloran, 2004. "Rewards and Sanctions and the Provision of Public Goods in One-Shot Settings," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 235-247, October.
  24. Allingham, Michael G. & Sandmo, Agnar, 1972. "Income tax evasion: a theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 323-338, November.
  25. Michael Pickhardt, 2005. "Teaching Public Goods Theory With a Classroom Game," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(2), pages 145-159, April.
  26. Alm, James & McClelland, Gary H. & Schulze, William D., 1992. "Why do people pay taxes?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 21-38, June.
  27. Michael Pickhardt & Jordi Sarda Pons, 2006. "Size and scope of the underground economy in Germany," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(14), pages 1707-1713.
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