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Tax evasion, corruption, and the remuneration of heterogeneous inspectors

  • Wane, Waly

The author develops a general model for addressing the question of how to compensate tax inspectors in an economy where corruption is pervasive - a model that considers the existence of strategic transmission of information. Most of the literature on corruption assumes that the taxpayer and the tax inspector jointly decide on the income to report, which also determines the size of the bribe. In contrast, this model considers the more realistic case in which the taxpayer unilaterally chooses the income to report. The tax inspector cannot change the report and is faced with a binary choice: either he negotiates the bribe on the basis of the income report or he denounces the tax evader and therefore renounces the bribe. In his model, the optimal compensation scheme must take into account the strategic interaction between taxpayers and tax inspectors: a) Pure"tax farming"(paying tax inspectors a share of their tax collections) is optimal only when all tax inspectors are corruptible. b) When there are both honest and corruptible inspectors, the optimal compensation scheme lies between pure tax farming and a pure wage scheme. c) Paradoxically, when inspectors are hired beforehand, it may be optimal to offer contracts that attract corruptible inspectors but not honest ones.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2394.

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Date of creation: 31 Jul 2000
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2394
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  1. Kreps, David M & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Sequential Equilibria," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 863-94, July.
  2. Banks, Jeffrey S & Sobel, Joel, 1987. "Equilibrium Selection in Signaling Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 647-61, May.
  3. 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.
  4. Cremer, H. & Marchand, M. & Pestieau, P., 1988. "Evading, Auditing And Taxing: The Equity-Compliance Tradeoff," Papers 401, Cornell - Department of Economics.
  5. Cho, In-Koo & Kreps, David M, 1987. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221, May.
  6. E. Kohlberg & J.-F. Mertens, 1998. "On the Strategic Stability of Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 445, David K. Levine.
  7. Hindriks, Jean & Keen, Michael & Muthoo, Abhinay, 1999. "Corruption, extortion and evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 395-430, December.
  8. Mookherjee, Dilip & Png, I P L, 1995. "Corruptible Law Enforcers: How Should They Be Compensated?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(428), pages 145-59, January.
  9. Cho, In-Koo & Sobel, Joel, 1990. "Strategic stability and uniqueness in signaling games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 381-413, April.
  10. Banks, Jeffrey S., 1990. "A model of electoral competition with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 309-325, April.
  11. Graetz, Michael J. & Reinganum, Jennifer F. & Wilde, Louis L., . "The Tax Compliance Game: Toward an Interactive Theory of Law Enforcement," Working Papers 589, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  12. Peter Stella, 1993. "Tax Farming: A Radical Solution for Developing Country Tax Problems?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 40(1), pages 217-225, March.
  13. Reinganum, Jennifer F & Wilde, Louis L, 1986. "Equilibrium Verification and Reporting Policies in a Model of Tax Compliance," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 27(3), pages 739-60, October.
  14. Chander, Parkash & Wilde, Louis, 1992. "Corruption in tax administration," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 333-349, December.
  15. Besley, Timothy & McLaren, John, 1993. "Taxes and Bribery: The Role of Wage Incentives," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(416), pages 119-41, January.
  16. Mailath, George J, 1987. "Incentive Compatibility in Signaling Games with a Continuum of Types," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(6), pages 1349-65, November.
  17. Sanchez, Isabel & Sobel, Joel, 1993. "Hierarchical design and enforcement of income tax policies," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 345-369, March.
  18. Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Hierarchies and Bureaucracies: On the Role of Collusion in Organizations," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(2), pages 181-214, Fall.
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