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Walking inside the Potential Tax Evader's Mind


  • Juan Carlos Molero

    () (School of Economics and Business Administration, University of Navarra)

  • Francesc Pujol

    () (School of Economics and Business Administration, University of Navarra)


The classical Allingham-Sandmo-Yitzhaki model explains tax evasion behavior based on the probability of being discovered, the amount of the fine imposed and the level of risk aversion. Nonetheless, empirical studies show that the decision and the level of tax evasion depends also on non economic considerations, usually named as the "psychological costs" associated to tax evasion. We build a theoretical model of tax evasion including non monetary considerations. We propose an empirical study on the determinants of the psychological costs of tax evasion, based on the theoretical taxonomy proposed by Lagares (1994). Data come from a questionnaire filled by 781 university students. The dependent variable is the percentage of students considering acceptable to evade taxes. Using a binomial logit model we find that the justification of tax evasion is statistically related with: the presence of grievance in absolute terms (those who feel that taxes are too high; waste of public funds) and grievances in relative terms (the suspected level of tax evasion by others, those accepting black economy labor). The sense of duty and the level of solidarity are also relevant factors, but in a lesser extent.

Suggested Citation

  • Juan Carlos Molero & Francesc Pujol, 2005. "Walking inside the Potential Tax Evader's Mind," Faculty Working Papers 01/05, School of Economics and Business Administration, University of Navarra.
  • Handle: RePEc:una:unccee:wp0105

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Erard, Brian & Feinstein, Jonathan S, 1994. "The Role of Moral Sentiments and Audit Perceptions in Tax Compliance," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 49(Supplemen), pages 70-89.
    2. Srinivasan, T. N., 1973. "Tax evasion: A model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 339-346.
    3. Bordignon, Massimo, 1993. "A fairness approach to income tax evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 345-362, October.
    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. Falkinger, Josef, 1988. "Tax Evasion and Equity: A Theoretical Analysis," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 43(3), pages 388-395.
    6. Benno Torgler, 2003. "Beyond Punishment: a tax compliance experiment with taxpayers in Costa Rica," Revista de Analisis Economico – Economic Analysis Review, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines, vol. 18(1), pages 27-56, June.
    7. Baldry, Jonathan C, 1987. "Income Tax Evasion and the Tax Schedule: Some Experimental Results," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 42(3), pages 357-383.
    8. 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.
    9. Torgler, Benno, 2003. "To evade taxes or not to evade: that is the question," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 283-302, July.
    10. Jan Hanousek & Filip Palda, 2002. "Why People Evade Taxes in the Czech and Slovak Republics: A Tale of Twins," Public Economics 0205003, EconWPA.
    11. Ockenfels, Axel & Weimann, Joachim, 1999. "Types and patterns: an experimental East-West-German comparison of cooperation and solidarity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 275-287, February.
    12. Cowell, Frank A. & P.F. Gordon, James, 1988. "Unwillingness to pay : Tax evasion and public good provision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 305-321, August.
    13. Pommerehne, Werner W & Hart, Albert & Frey, Bruno S, 1994. "Tax Morale, Tax Evasion and the Choice of Policy Instruments in Different Political Systems," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 49(Supplemen), pages 52-69.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jorge Martinz-Vazquez & Benno Torgler, 2005. "The Evolution of Tax Morale in Modern Spain," CREMA Working Paper Series 2005-33, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    2. Gloria Alarcón García & José Daniel Buendía Azorín & María del Mar Sánchez Vega, 2016. "El rechazo al fraude fiscal en España: antes y después de la Gran crisis," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 218(3), pages 33-56, September.
    3. repec:mes:jeciss:v:43:y:2009:i:1:p:1-28 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Benno Torgler, 2009. "The Evolution of Tax Morale in Modern Spain," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(1), pages 1-28.
    5. repec:aia:aiaswp:wp32 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Torgler, Benno, 2011. "Tax morale and compliance : review of evidence and case studies for Europe," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5922, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance

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