IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/8551.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Tax Rates and Tax Evasion: Evidence from "Missing Imports" in China

Author

Listed:
  • Raymond Fisman
  • Shang-Jin Wei

Abstract

Tax evasion, by its very nature, is difficult to observe. In this paper, we present a case study of tax evasion in China. The novel feature of our approach is that at a very disaggregated level of individual products, we can measure evasion relatively precisely, by comparing the values that China reports as imports from Hong Kong, with what Hong Kong reports as exports to China. We can match up this evasion gap' with the tariff (and VAT tax) schedule at the product level. The result is striking: using the data in 1998, we find that on average, a 1 percent increase in the tax rate results in a 3 percent increase in evasion; these results hold using data from 1998. The result is similar when a first-difference specification is used with data in 1997 and 1998. This relationship is nonlinear: the evasion elasticity is larger at high tax levels. Furthermore, the evasion gap is negatively correlated with the tax rates on closely related products, suggesting that part of the evasion takes place by mis-reporting the type of imports, in addition to under-reporting the value of imports. This effect is even more pronounced when the evasion gap is measured using quantities rather than values.

Suggested Citation

  • Raymond Fisman & Shang-Jin Wei, 2001. "Tax Rates and Tax Evasion: Evidence from "Missing Imports" in China," NBER Working Papers 8551, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8551
    Note: ITI PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8551.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Assaf Razin & Joel Slemrod, 1990. "Taxation in the Global Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number razi90-1.
    2. Jonathan S. Feinstein, 1991. "An Econometric Analysis of Income Tax Evasion and its Detection," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(1), pages 14-35, Spring.
    3. Slemrod, Joel & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 2002. "Tax avoidance, evasion, and administration," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 22, pages 1423-1470, Elsevier.
    4. James Andreoni & Brian Erard & Jonathan Feinstein, 1998. "Tax Compliance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 818-860, June.
    5. Kimberly A. Clausing, 2000. "The Impact of Transfer Pricing on Intrafirm Trade," NBER Chapters, in: International Taxation and Multinational Activity, pages 173-200, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Edgar L. Feige, 1979. "How Big Is the Irregular Economy?," Challenge, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(5), pages 5-13, November.
    7. Jean-Thomas Bernard & Robert Weiner, 1990. "Multinational Corporations, Transfer Prices, and Taxes: Evidence from the U.S.Petroleum Industry," NBER Chapters, in: Taxation in the Global Economy, pages 123-160, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Pritchett, Lant & Sethi, Geeta, 1994. "Tariff Rates, Tariff Revenue, and Tariff Reform: Some New Facts," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 8(1), pages 1-16, January.
    9. 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.
    10. Gordon H. Hanson & Robert C. Feenstra, 2000. "Aggregation Bias in the Factor Content of Trade: Evidence from U.S. Manufacturing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 155-160, May.
    11. Clotfelter, Charles T, 1983. "Tax Evasion and Tax Rates: An Analysis of Individual Returns," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(3), pages 363-373, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Kalina Koleva, 2005. "A la recherche de l'administration fiscale optimale : l'approche par les coûts d'efficience," Cahiers de la Maison des Sciences Economiques r05050, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
    2. Dean Yang, 2008. "Can Enforcement Backfire? Crime Displacement in the Context of Customs Reform in the Philippines," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 1-14, February.
    3. Slemrod, Joel & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 2002. "Tax avoidance, evasion, and administration," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 22, pages 1423-1470, Elsevier.
    4. Matsaganis, Manos & Flevotomou, Maria, 2010. "Distributional implications of tax evasion in Greece," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 26074, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Torgler, Benno & Schneider, Friedrich & Schaltegger, Christoph A., 2007. "With or Against the People? The Impact of a Bottom-Up Approach on Tax Morale and the Shadow Economy," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt6331x6vz, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
    6. Semjén, András, 2017. "Az adózói magatartás különféle magyarázatai [Various explanations for tax compliance]," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(2), pages 140-184.
    7. Angel Solano García, 2015. "Tax Morale with Partisan Parties," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 213(2), pages 83-108, June.
    8. Berger, Melissa & Fellner-Röhling, Gerlinde & Sausgruber, Rupert & Traxler, Christian, 2016. "Higher taxes, more evasion? Evidence from border differentials in TV license fees," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 74-86.
    9. Kalina Koleva, 2005. "Seeking for an optimal tax administration: the efficiency costs’ approach [A la recherche de l'administration fiscale optimale : l'approche par les coûts d'efficience]," Post-Print halshs-00195354, HAL.
    10. Sanjit Dhami & Narges Hajimoladarvish, 2020. "Mental Accounting, Loss Aversion, and Tax Evasion: Theory and Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 8606, CESifo.
    11. Hoseini, M., 2014. "Misreporting in the Value-Added Tax and the Optimal Enforcement," Discussion Paper 2014-061, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    12. Bayer, Ralph-C & Sutter, Matthias, 2009. "The excess burden of tax evasion--An experimental detection-concealment contest," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(5), pages 527-543, July.
    13. Alstadsæter, Annette & Jacob, Martin, 2013. "The effect of awareness and incentives on tax evasion," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 147, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    14. Loukas Balafoutas & Adrian Beck & Rudolf Kerschbamer & Matthias Sutter, 2014. "The hidden costs of tax evasion: collaborative tax evasion in markets for expert services," Economics Working Papers ECO2014/01, European University Institute.
    15. Orviska, Marta & Caplanova, Anetta & Medved, Jozef & Hudson, John, 2006. "A cross-section approach to measuring the shadow economy," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 28(7), pages 713-724, October.
    16. James Alm, 2012. "Measuring, explaining, and controlling tax evasion: lessons from theory, experiments, and field studies," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(1), pages 54-77, February.
    17. Ralph-C Bayer, 2003. "Income Tax Evasion with Morally Constraint Taxpayers: The Role of Evasion Opportunities and Evasion Cost," School of Economics Working Papers 2003-04, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
    18. Sara LaLumia & James Sallee, 2013. "The value of honesty: empirical estimates from the case of the missing children," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 20(2), pages 192-224, April.
    19. Martin Halla & Friedrich G. Schneider, 2005. "Taxes and Benefits: Two Distinct Options to Cheat on the State?," Economics working papers 2005-05, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    20. Alm, James & Cherry, Todd & Jones, Michael & McKee, Michael, 2010. "Taxpayer information assistance services and tax compliance behavior," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 577-586, August.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8551. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.