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Penalties in the theory of equilibrium tax evasion: Solving King John's problem

Author

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  • Neumärker, Bernhard
  • Pech, Gerald

Abstract

We characterize equilibria of an income reporting game with bounded returns and no commitment where detected tax evaders are charged the maximally feasible amount. Introducing partial commitment to punishment relief eliminates multiplicity of equilibria. We identify a unique limit equilibrium where the poorest citizens evade, intermediate citizens are honest and the richest citizens are indifferent between evading and truth-telling. For small tax rates and auditing cost, committing to a discretionary punishment relief scheme increases expected tax revenue.

Suggested Citation

  • Neumärker, Bernhard & Pech, Gerald, 2010. "Penalties in the theory of equilibrium tax evasion: Solving King John's problem," The Constitutional Economics Network Working Papers 01-2010, University of Freiburg, Department of Economic Policy and Constitutional Economic Theory.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cenwps:012010
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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/57635/1/699902355.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ingolf Dittmann, 2006. "The Optimal Use of Fines and Imprisonment If Governments Do Not Maximize Welfare," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 8(4), pages 677-695, October.
    3. Derek Pyne, 2004. "Can Making It Harder to Convict Criminals Ever Reduce Crime?," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 191-201, September.
    4. Wolfram F. Richter & Robin W. Boadway, 2005. "Trading Off Tax Distortion and Tax Evasion," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 7(3), pages 361-381, August.
    5. Landsberger, Michael & Monderer, Dov & Talmor, Irit, 2000. " Feasible Net Income Distributions Under Income Tax Evasion: An Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 2(1), pages 135-153.
    6. Steven Shavell & A. Mitchell Polinsky, 2000. "The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 45-76, March.
    7. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:8:y:2004:i:5:p:1-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Kolm, Serge-Christophe, 1973. "A note on optimum tax evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 265-270, July.
    9. Alm, James & McKee, Michael, 2004. "Tax compliance as a coordination game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 297-312, July.
    10. Sanjit Dhami & Ali al-Nowaihi, 2006. "Hang ’em with probability zero: Why does it not work?," Discussion Papers in Economics 06/14, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
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    Cited by:

    1. Oberlack, Christoph & Neumärker, Bernhard, 2011. "Economics, institutions and adaptation to climate change," The Constitutional Economics Network Working Papers 04-2011, University of Freiburg, Department of Economic Policy and Constitutional Economic Theory.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tax evasion; signaling; optimal punishment;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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