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Can Behavioral "Nudges" Improve Compliance? The Case of Colombia Social Protection Contributions

Author

Listed:
  • James Alm

    () (Tulane University)

  • Laura Rosales Cifuentes

    (Gandour Consultores)

  • Carlos Mauricio Ortiz Niño

    (Gandour Consultores)

  • Diana Rocha

    (Gandour Consultores)

Abstract

The Government of Colombia imposes a variety of taxes that must be paid by individual wage earners, called in their entirety "social protection contributions". Since 2007 individual payments have been collected using an on-line mechanism. In order to improve compliance, the Government used a controlled field experiment in which various "pop-up messages" were sent to individuals when making their on-line payments, as behavioral "nudges". We examine the impact of these nudges on individual reporting behavior. We find mixed evidence that these messages increased compliance rates relative to a control group that received a so-called "neutral" message. However, we also demonstrate that the use as the control group of individuals receiving a so-called "neutral" message creates considerable bias; that is, the receipt of any message of any type clearly influences behavior. Instead, we show that the appropriate control group should be individuals who receive no message at all.

Suggested Citation

  • James Alm & Laura Rosales Cifuentes & Carlos Mauricio Ortiz Niño & Diana Rocha, 2019. "Can Behavioral "Nudges" Improve Compliance? The Case of Colombia Social Protection Contributions," Working Papers 1908, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:1908
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    tax compliance; behavioral economics; nudges; controlled field experiments.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments

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