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Measuring, Explaining, and Controlling Tax Evasion: Lessons from Theory, Experiments, and Field Studies

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  • James Alm

    () (Department of Economics, Tulane University)

Abstract

In this paper, I assess what we have learned about tax evasion since Michael Allingham and Agnar Sandmo launched the modern analysis of tax evasion in 1972. I focus on three specific questions and the answers to these questions that have emerged over the years. First, how do we measure the extent of evasion? Second, how can we explain these patterns of behavior? Third, how can we use these insights to control evasion? In the process, I illustrate my own answers to these questions by highlighting various specific examples of research. My main conclusion is that we have learned many things but that we also still have many gaps in our understanding of how to measure, explain, and control tax evasion. I also give some suggestions – and some predictions – about where promising avenues of future research may lie.

Suggested Citation

  • James Alm, 2012. "Measuring, Explaining, and Controlling Tax Evasion: Lessons from Theory, Experiments, and Field Studies," Working Papers 1213, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:1213
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    tax evasion; behavioral economics; experimental economics;

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments

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