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Tax return as a political statement

  • Libman, Alexander
  • Schultz, André
  • Graeber, Thomas
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    The accuracy of a tax return is usually interpreted as an outcome of the tax evasion decision by an individual. However, in non-democratic regimes with predatory blackmail tax systems it is possible that large sums voluntarily reported by influential politicians or businessmen may be used as political statements. By openly acknowledging one's personal income an individual can signal the strength of one's position, or, on the contrary, the submissiveness to the political leadership. In this paper we explore the idea of the tax return as a political statement and test it using a unique dataset of the tax returns filed by the Russian regional governors and the members of their families for the year 2009. Our results conjecture that Russian governors may deliberately file their tax return as a political statement to signal their strength vis-à-vis the central government.

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    Paper provided by Frankfurt School of Finance and Management in its series Frankfurt School - Working Paper Series with number 169.

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    Date of creation: 2011
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:zbw:fsfmwp:169
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    1. Baskaran, Thushyanthan & Bigsten, Arne, 2011. "Fiscal capacity and government accountability in sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers in Economics 506, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    2. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Klara Sabirianova Peter, 2009. "Myth and Reality of Flat Tax Reform: Micro Estimates of Tax Evasion Response and Welfare Effects in Russia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(3), pages 504-554, 06.
    3. Becker, Johannes & Peichl, Andreas & Rincke, Johannes, 2008. "Politicians' Outside Earnings and Electoral Competition," Discussion Papers in Economics 2206, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    4. Roger Congleton, 2001. "On the Durability of King and Council: The Continuum Between Dictatorship and Democracy," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 193-215, September.
    5. Cummings, Ronald G. & Martinez-Vazquez, Jorge & McKee, Michael & Torgler, Benno, 2009. "Tax morale affects tax compliance: Evidence from surveys and an artefactual field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 447-457, June.
    6. Feld, Lars P & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2002. "Tax Evasion and Voting: An Experimental Analysis," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 197-222.
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