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The excess burden of tax evasion - An experimental detection- concealment contest

  • Ralph C Bayer

    (University of Adelaide)

  • Matthias Sutter

    (Max Planck Institute for Research into Economic Systems & University of Innsbruck)

We present an experimental study on the wasted resources associated with tax evasion. This waste arises from taxpayers and tax authorities investing costly effort in the concealment and detection of tax evasion. We show that these socially inefficient efforts - as well as the frequency of tax evasion - depend positively on the prevailing tax rate, but not on the fine which is imposed in the event of detected tax evasion. Tax evasion is less frequent, though, than a model with risk neutral taxpayers predicts. We find evidence that this is due to individual moral constraints rather than to risk aversion.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Experimental with number 0412003.

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Date of creation: 14 Dec 2004
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Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpex:0412003
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  1. Frank A. Cowell, 1990. "Cheating the Government: The Economics of Evasion," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262532484, June.
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  5. Ralph C Bayer, 2004. "A contest with the taxman - The impact of tax rates on tax evasion and wastefully invested resources," Public Economics 0412010, EconWPA.
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  9. Richard J. Cebula, 2001. "Impact of income-detection technology and other factors on aggregate income tax evasion:the case of the United States," Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 54(219), pages 401-415.
  10. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  11. 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.
  12. Joulfaian, David & Rider, Mark, 1996. "Tax Evasion in the Presence of Negative Income Tax Rates," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(4), pages 553-70, December.
  13. Dan Usher, 1986. "Tax Evasion and the Marginal Cost of Public Funds," Working Papers 637, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  14. Kim, Chung Kweon, 2002. "Does fairness matter in tax reporting behavior?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 771-785, December.
  15. Falkinger, Josef, 1988. "Tax Evasion and Equity: A Theoretical Analysis," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 43(3), pages 388-95.
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  17. Alm, James & Bahl, Roy & Murray, Matthew N, 1990. "Tax Structure and Tax Compliance," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(4), pages 603-13, November.
  18. 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.
  19. Clotfelter, Charles T, 1983. "Tax Evasion and Tax Rates: An Analysis of Individual Returns," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(3), pages 363-73, August.
  20. Friedland, Nehemiah & Maital, Shlomo & Rutenberg, Aryeh, 1978. "A simulation study of income tax evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 107-116, August.
  21. Charness, Gary & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3d04q5sm, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  22. Pommerehne, Werner W & Weck-Hannemann, Hannelore, 1996. " Tax Rates, Tax Administration and Income Tax Evasion in Switzerland," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 88(1-2), pages 161-70, July.
  23. Dominik H. Enste & Friedrich Schneider, 2000. "Shadow Economies: Size, Causes, and Consequences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 77-114, March.
  24. 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.
  25. Alm, James & McClelland, Gary H. & Schulze, William D., 1992. "Why do people pay taxes?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 21-38, June.
  26. 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.
  27. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1994. " Tax Evasion, Concealment and the Optimal Linear Income Tax," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 96(2), pages 219-39.
  28. Alm, James & Jackson, Betty & McKee, Michael, 1992. "Institutional Uncertainty and Taxpayer Compliance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 1018-26, September.
  29. Baldry, Jonathan C, 1987. "Income Tax Evasion and the Tax Schedule: Some Experimental Results," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 42(3), pages 357-83.
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