IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Enlisting Employees in Improving Payroll-Tax Compliance: Evidence from Mexico

  • Todd Kumler
  • Eric Verhoogen
  • Judith A. Frías

A growing body of research suggests that difficulties in collecting taxes are an important constraint on economic performance in developing countries. Evidence from rich countries points to third- party reporting — in particular, employer reports of employees' wages — as a potential remedy. To what extent does the accuracy of third-party reporting carry over to developing countries, with their weaker enforcement regimes? In this paper, we compare two sources of wage information from Mexico — firms' reports of individuals' wages to the Mexican social security agency and individuals' responses to a household labor-force survey — to investigate the extent of wage under-reporting by formal firms and how it responded to an important change in the social security system. We document that under-reporting is extensive, and that compliance is better in larger firms. Using a difference-in-differences strategy based on the 1997 Mexican pension reform, which effectively tied pension benefits more closely to reported wages for younger workers than for older workers, we show that the reform led to a relative decline in under-reporting for younger age groups. This result reinforces the view that the discrepancies between the two data sources can be interpreted as evidence of evasion, and suggests that giving employees incentives and information to improve the accuracy of employer reports can be an effective way to improve payroll-tax compliance.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19385.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19385.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Aug 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19385
Note: DEV LS PE
Contact details of provider: Postal:
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Dharmapala, Dhammika & Slemrod, Joel & Wilson, John Douglas, 2011. "Tax policy and the missing middle: Optimal tax remittance with firm-level administrative costs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9-10), pages 1036-1047, October.
  2. Raymond Fisman & Shang-Jin Wei, 2004. "Tax Rates and Tax Evasion: Evidence from "Missing Imports" in China," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 471-500, April.
  3. Paul Niehaus & Sandip Sukhtankar, 2013. "Corruption Dynamics: The Golden Goose Effect," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 230-69, November.
  4. Mark J. Melitz, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," NBER Working Papers 8881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. David Kaplan & Eduardo Piedra & Enrique Seira, 2006. "Are Burdensome Registration Procedures an Important Barrier on Firm Creation? Evidence from Mexico," Discussion Papers 06-013, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  6. Aureo de Paula & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2009. "The Informal Sector: An Equilibrium Model and Some Empirical Evidence from Brazil," PIER Working Paper Archive 09-044, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  7. Emmanuel Saez & Manos Matsaganis & Panos Tsakloglou, 2012. "Earnings Determination and Taxes: Evidence From a Cohort-Based Payroll Tax Reform in Greece," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(1), pages 493-533.
  8. Suresh de Mel & David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2013. "The Demand for, and Consequences of, Formalization among Informal Firms in Sri Lanka," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 122-50, April.
  9. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Tore Olsen & Luigi Pistaferri, 2011. "Adjustment Costs, Firm Responses, and Micro vs. Macro Labor Supply Elasticities: Evidence from Danish Tax Records," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 749-804.
  10. Ben Lockwood & Michael Keen, 2007. "The Value-Added Tax; Its Causes and Consequences," IMF Working Papers 07/183, International Monetary Fund.
  11. Emma Aguila, 2008. "Personal Retirement Accounts and Saving," Working Papers 600, RAND Corporation.
  12. Mirco Tonin, 2009. "Minimumwage and tax evasion: theory and evidence," MNB Working Papers 2009/2, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary).
  13. Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Emmanuel Saez, 2009. "Why Can Modern Governments Tax So Much? An Agency Model of Firms as Fiscal Intermediaries," NBER Working Papers 15218, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Marcelo Bergolo & Guillermo Cruces, 2014. "Work and tax evasion incentive effects of social insurance programs. Evidence from an employment-based benefit extension," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0161, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  15. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Klara Sabirianova Peter, 2009. "Myth and Reality of Flat Tax Reform: Micro Estimates of Tax Evasion Response and Welfare Effects in Russia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(3), pages 504-554, 06.
  16. Jesse Rothstein, 2009. "Is the EITC as Good as an NIT? Conditional Cash Transfers and Tax Incidence," Working Papers 1160, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  17. Wojciech Kopczuk & Joel Slemrod, 2006. "Putting Firms into Optimal Tax Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 130-134, May.
  18. Aureo de Paula & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2007. "The Informal Sector," PIER Working Paper Archive 07-033, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  19. Matias Busso & Maria Victoria Fazio & Santiago Levy Algazi, 2012. "(In)Formal and (Un)Productive: The Productivity Costs of Excessive Informality in Mexico," Research Department Publications 4789, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  20. Rauch, James E., 1991. "Modelling the informal sector formally," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 33-47, January.
  21. Olken, Benjamin A., 2006. "Corruption and the costs of redistribution: Micro evidence from Indonesia," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 853-870, May.
  22. Peter Elek & Janos Kollo & Balazs Reizer & Peter A. Szabo, 2012. "Detecting Wage Under-Reporting Using a Double Hurdle Model," Budapest Working Papers on the Labour Market 1201, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
  23. Joel Slemrod, 2001. "A General Model of the Behavioral Response to Taxation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 119-128, March.
  24. Sebastian Galiani & Federico Weinschelbaum, 2012. "Modeling Informality Formally: Households And Firms," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 50(3), pages 821-838, 07.
  25. Henrik J. Kleven & Mazhar Waseem, 2013. "Using Notches to Uncover Optimization Frictions and Structural Elasticities: Theory and Evidence from Pakistan," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(2), pages 669-723.
  26. Sara G. Castellanos & Rodrigo Garcia-Verdu & David S. Kaplan, 2004. "Nominal Wage Rigidities in Mexico: Evidence from Social Security Records," NBER Working Papers 10383, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Dina Pomeranz, 2013. "No Taxation without Information: Deterrence and Self-Enforcement in the Value Added Tax," NBER Working Papers 19199, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Benjamin A. Olken & Rohini Pande, 2012. "Corruption in Developing Countries," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 479-509, 07.
  29. Foster, Lucia & Haltiwanger, John C. & Syverson, Chad, 2005. "Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?," IZA Discussion Papers 1705, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  30. 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.
  31. Erik Hurst & Geng Li & Benjamin Pugsley, 2010. "Are Household Surveys Like Tax Forms: Evidence from Income Underreporting of the Self Employed," NBER Working Papers 16527, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Carlos Sales-Sarrapy & Fernando Solis-Soberon & Alejandro Villagomez-Amezcua, 1998. "Pension System Reform: The Mexican Case," NBER Chapters, in: Privatizing Social Security, pages 135-175 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  33. Eric A. Verhoogen, 2008. "Trade, Quality Upgrading, and Wage Inequality in the Mexican Manufacturing Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 489-530.
  34. Roger Gordon & Wei Li, 2005. "Tax Structure in Developing Countries: Many Puzzles and a Possible Explanation," NBER Working Papers 11267, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  35. Justin Marion & Erich Muehlegger, 2008. "Measuring Illegal Activity and the Effects of Regulatory Innovation: Tax Evasion and the Dyeing of Untaxed Diesel," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 633-666, 08.
  36. Best, Michael & Brockmeyer, Anne & Kleven, Henrik & Spinnewijn, Johannes & Waseem, Mazhar, 2013. "Production vs Revenue Efficiency With Limited Tax Capacity: Theory and Evidence From Pakistan," CEPR Discussion Papers 9717, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  37. Pissarides, Christopher A. & Weber, Guglielmo, 1989. "An expenditure-based estimate of Britain's black economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 17-32, June.
  38. Bruhn, Miriam, 2008. "License to sell : the effect of business registration reform on entrepreneurial activity in Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4538, The World Bank.
  39. Fabian Duarte & Justine S. Hastings, 2012. "Fettered Consumers and Sophisticated Firms: Evidence from Mexico's Privatized Social Security Market," NBER Working Papers 18582, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  40. Kaplan, David S. & Piedra, Eduardo & Seira, Enrique, 2007. "Entry regulation and business start-ups : evidence from Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4322, The World Bank.
  41. Thomas Chaney, 2008. "Distorted Gravity: The Intensive and Extensive Margins of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1707-21, September.
  42. Serguey Braguinsky & Sergey Mityakov & Andrey Liscovich, 2014. "Direct Estimation of Hidden Earnings: Evidence from Russian Administrative Data," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(2), pages 281 - 319.
  43. Wojciech Kopczuk & Justin Marion & Erich Muehlegger & Joel Slemrod, 2013. "Do the Laws of Tax Incidence Hold? Point of Collection and the Pass-through of State Diesel Taxes," NBER Working Papers 19410, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  44. Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "Do Taxpayers Bunch at Kink Points?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 180-212, August.
  45. Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Martin B. Knudsen & Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Søren Pedersen & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Unwilling or Unable to Cheat? Evidence From a Tax Audit Experiment in Denmark," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(3), pages 651-692, 05.
  46. Burgess, Robin & Stern, Nicholas, 1993. "Taxation and Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 762-830, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19385. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.