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The Social Multiplier of Tax Evasion: Evidence from Italian Audit Data

  • Roberto Galbiati

    ()

  • Giulio Zanella

    ()

We investigate the role of individual interdependencies in tax evasion, arising from congestion on the auditing resources available to local tax authorities. Identification exploits a novel method based on comparison of the variance of individual behavior — concealed income in this case — at different levels of aggregation, within different subpopulations (Graham, 2008). This method allows us to mitigate some of the most severe problems that surround identification of neighbourhood effects, at the cost of identifying restrictions that arise naturally from our model. We employ a unique dataset of tax audits to about 75,000 self-employed individuals in Italy. Surprisingly, this sample is not statistically different from a random sample of taxpayers. We find a social multiplier of about 3, meaning that the equilibrium response to a shock that induces an exogenous variation in mean concealed income — such as tougher or looser tax enforcement — is about three times the initial average response

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Siena in its series Department of Economics University of Siena with number 539.

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Date of creation: Aug 2008
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Handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:539
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  1. Áureo de Paula & José A. Scheinkman, 2007. "The Informal Sector," NBER Working Papers 13486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce I. Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2002. "The Social Multiplier," NBER Working Papers 9153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. James Andreoni & Brian Erard & Jonathan Feinstein, 1998. "Tax Compliance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 818-860, June.
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  5. Schneider, Friedrich, 2005. "Shadow economies around the world: what do we really know?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 598-642, September.
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  7. Gordon, James P. P., 1989. "Individual morality and reputation costs as deterrents to tax evasion," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 797-805, April.
  8. Bryan S. Graham, 2008. "Identifying Social Interactions Through Conditional Variance Restrictions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(3), pages 643-660, 05.
  9. Joshua Angrist & Alan B. Krueger, 2001. "Instrumental Variables and the Search for Identification: From Supply and Demand to Natural Experiments," NBER Working Papers 8456, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. 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.
  11. Myles, Gareth D. & Naylor, Robin A., 1996. "A model of tax evasion with group conformity and social customs," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 49-66, April.
  12. Marco Manacorda, 2003. "Child Labor and the Labor Supply of Other Household Members: Evidence from 1920 America," CEP Discussion Papers dp0590, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  13. Brock,W.A. & Durlauf,S.N., 2000. "Discrete choice with social interactions," Working papers 7, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  14. Glaeser, Edward L & Sacerdote, Bruce & Scheinkman, Jose A, 1996. "Crime and Social Interactions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 507-48, May.
  15. Manski, Charles F, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 531-42, July.
  16. Sah, R.K., 1990. "Social Osmosis And Patterns Of Crime: A Dynamic Economic Analysis," Papers 609, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  17. Joel Slemrod, 2007. "Cheating Ourselves: The Economics of Tax Evasion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 25-48, Winter.
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