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Ghost-House Busters: The Electoral Response to a Large Anti Tax Evasion Program

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  • Lorenzo Casaburi
  • Ugo Troiano

Abstract

The incentives of political agents to enforce tax collection are key determinants of the levels of compliance. We study the electoral response to the Ghost Buildings program, a nationwide anti-tax evasion policy in Italy that used innovative monitoring technologies to target buildings hidden from tax authorities. The program induced monetary and non-monetary benefits for non-evaders. A one standard deviation increase in town-level program intensity leads to a 4.8 percent increase in local incumbent reelection rates. In addition, these political returns are higher in areas with lower tax evasion tolerance and with higher efficiency of public good provision, implying complementarity among enforcement policies, the underlying tax culture, and the quality of the government.

Suggested Citation

  • Lorenzo Casaburi & Ugo Troiano, 2015. "Ghost-House Busters: The Electoral Response to a Large Anti Tax Evasion Program," NBER Working Papers 21185, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21185 Note: PE POL
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    Cited by:

    1. Lucie Gadenne, 2017. "Tax Me, but Spend Wisely? Sources of Public Finance and Government Accountability," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 274-314, January.
    2. Ugo Troiano & Ricardo Perez-Truglia, 2015. "Tax Debt Enforcement: Theory and Evidence from a Field Experiment in the United States," 2015 Meeting Papers 134, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Ugo Troiano, 2017. "Intergovernmental Cooperation and Tax Enforcement," NBER Working Papers 24153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Veronica Grembi & Tommaso Nannicini & Ugo Troiano, 2011. "Policy Responses to Fiscal Restraints: A Difference-in-Discontinuities Design," Working Papers 397, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    5. Drago, Francesco & Galbiati, Roberto & Sobbrio, Francesco, 2017. "The Political Cost of Being Soft on Crime: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 12097, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Carlos Bethencourt & Lars Kunze, 2015. "The political economics of redistribution, inequality and tax avoidance," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 163(3), pages 267-287, June.
    7. Alberto F. Alesina & Ugo Troiano & Traviss Cassidy, 2015. "Old and Young Politicians," NBER Working Papers 20977, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Dave Donaldson & Adam Storeygard, 2016. "The View from Above: Applications of Satellite Data in Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 171-198, Fall.
    9. Dirk Foremny & Jordi Jofre-Monseny & Albert Solé-Ollé, 2015. "‘Hold that ghost’: using notches to identify manipulation of population-based grants," Working Papers 2015/39, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    10. Asatryan, Zareh & Peichl, Andreas, 2016. "Responses of firms to tax, administrative and accounting rules: Evidence from Armenia," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-065, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    11. Francesco Drago & Tommaso Nannicini & Francesco Sobbrio, 2014. "Meet the Press: How Voters and Politicians Respond to Newspaper Entry and Exit," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 159-188, July.
    12. Mark Dincecco & Ugo Troiano, 2015. "Broadening the State: Policy Responses to the Introduction of the Income Tax," NBER Working Papers 21373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Ricardo Perez-Truglia & Ugo Troiano, 2015. "Shaming Tax Delinquents: Theory and Evidence from a Field Experiment in the United States," NBER Working Papers 21264, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Bott, Kristina Maria & Cappelen, Alexander W. & Sørensen, Erik Ø. & Tungodden, Bertil, 2017. "You’ve got mail: A randomised Field experiment on tax evasion," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 10/2017, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    15. Oasis Kodila-Tedika & Martin Mulunda Kabange, 2016. "Age of politicians and Regulatory Reform," Working Papers 16/003, African Governance and Development Institute..
    16. repec:eee:pubeco:v:154:y:2017:i:c:p:49-66 is not listed on IDEAS

    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

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