IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/zbw/vfsc18/181514.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Aggregate Consequences of Tax Evasion

Author

Listed:
  • Di Nola, Alessandro
  • Kocharkov, Georgi
  • Scholl, Almuth
  • Tkhir, Anna-Mariia

Abstract

There is a sizeable overall tax gap in the U.S., albeit tax noncompliance differs sharply across income types. While only small percentages of wages and salaries are underreported, the estimated misreporting rate of self-employment business income is substantial. This paper studies how tax evasion in the self-employment sector affects aggregate outcomes and inequality. To this end, we develop a dynamic general equilibrium model with incomplete markets in which heterogeneous agents choose between being a worker and being self-employed. Self-employed agents may hide a share of their business income but are confronted with the probability of being detected by the tax authority. Our model replicates important quantitative features of U.S. data, in particular, the misreporting rate, wealth inequality, and the firm size distribution. Our quantitative findings suggest that tax evasion induces self-employed businesses to stay small. In the aggregate, tax evasion increases the size but decreases the productivity of the self-employment sector. Moreover, it increases aggregate savings and reduces wealth inequality. We show that tax revenues follow a Laffer curve in the size of the tax evasion penalty.

Suggested Citation

  • Di Nola, Alessandro & Kocharkov, Georgi & Scholl, Almuth & Tkhir, Anna-Mariia, 2018. "The Aggregate Consequences of Tax Evasion," VfS Annual Conference 2018 (Freiburg, Breisgau): Digital Economy 181514, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc18:181514
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/181514/1/VfS-2018-pid-12449.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Mariacristina De Nardi & Giulio Fella & Gonzalo Paz-Pardo, 2020. "Nonlinear Household Earnings Dynamics, Self-Insurance, and Welfare," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 18(2), pages 890-926.
    2. Raj Chetty, 2009. "Is the Taxable Income Elasticity Sufficient to Calculate Deadweight Loss? The Implications of Evasion and Avoidance," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 31-52, August.
    3. Fatih Guvenen, 2009. "An Empirical Investigation of Labor Income Processes," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(1), pages 58-79, January.
    4. Vincenzo Quadrini, 2000. "Entrepreneurship, Saving and Social Mobility," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(1), pages 1-40, January.
    5. Tauchen, George & Hussey, Robert, 1991. "Quadrature-Based Methods for Obtaining Approximate Solutions to Nonlinear Asset Pricing Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(2), pages 371-396, March.
    6. Ana Cinta G Cabral & Christos Kotsogiannis & Gareth Myles, 2019. "Self-Employment Income Gap in Great Britain: How Much and Who?," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 65(1), pages 84-107.
    7. Brent Neiman, 2014. "The Global Decline of the Labor Share," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(1), pages 61-103.
    8. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2017. "Optimal Tax Progressivity: An Analytical Framework," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 132(4), pages 1693-1754.
    9. Blackburn, Keith & Bose, Niloy & Capasso, Salvatore, 2012. "Tax evasion, the underground economy and financial development," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 243-253.
    10. Julio Cesar Leal Ordonez, 2014. "Tax collection, the informal sector, and productivity," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(2), pages 262-286, April.
    11. Allub, Lian & Erosa, Andrés, 2019. "Financial frictions, occupational choice and economic inequality," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 63-76.
    12. Sergio Ocampo & Gueorgui Kambourov & Daphne Chen & Burhanettin Kuruscu & Fatih Guvenen, 2017. "Use It or Lose It: Efficiency Gains from Wealth Taxation," 2017 Meeting Papers 913, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    13. Erik Hurst & Geng Li & Benjamin Pugsley, 2014. "Are Household Surveys Like Tax Forms? Evidence from Income Underreporting of the Self-Employed," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(1), pages 19-33, March.
    14. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2009. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1403-1448.
    15. Nezih Guner & Remzi Kaygusuz & Gustavo Ventura, 2014. "Income Taxation of U.S. Households: Facts and Parametric Estimates," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(4), pages 559-581, October.
    16. Been-Lon Chen, 2003. "Tax Evasion in a Model of Endogenous Growth," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(2), pages 381-403, April.
    17. Conesa, Juan Carlos & Krueger, Dirk, 2006. "On the optimal progressivity of the income tax code," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1425-1450, October.
    18. Gabriel Ulyssea, 2018. "Firms, Informality, and Development: Theory and Evidence from Brazil," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(8), pages 2015-2047, August.
    19. Zsofia Barany, 2018. "Taxation and Self-Employment," Sciences Po publications 2018-02, Sciences Po.
    20. Diego Restuccia & Richard Rogerson, 2008. "Policy Distortions and Aggregate Productivity with Heterogeneous Plants," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(4), pages 707-720, October.
    21. Andreoni, James, 1992. "IRS as loan shark tax compliance with borrowing constraints," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 35-46, October.
    22. Joel Slemrod, 2007. "Cheating Ourselves: The Economics of Tax Evasion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 25-48, Winter.
    23. Jonathan Heathcote & Fabrizio Perri & Giovanni L. Violante, 2010. "Unequal We Stand: An Empirical Analysis of Economic Inequality in the United States: 1967-2006," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 15-51, January.
    24. Sang Yoon (Tim) Lee, 2019. "Entrepreneurs, managers and inequality," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 32, pages 42-67, April.
    25. Sang Yoon (Tim) Lee, 2019. "Entrepreneurs, managers and inequality," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 32, pages 42-67, April.
    26. Francisco J. Buera & Joseph P. Kaboski & Yongseok Shin, 2011. "Finance and Development: A Tale of Two Sectors," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1964-2002, August.
    27. Antunes, Antonio R. & Cavalcanti, Tiago V. de V., 2007. "Start up costs, limited enforcement, and the hidden economy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 203-224, January.
    28. Nezih Guner & Remzi Kaygusuz & Gustavo Ventura, 2014. "Income Taxation of U.S. Households: Facts and Parametric Estimates," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(4), pages 559-581, October.
    29. Sagiri Kitao, 2008. "Entrepreneurship, taxation and capital investment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(1), pages 44-69, January.
    30. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 1978. "On the Size Distribution of Business Firms," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 508-523, Autumn.
    31. Pissarides, Christopher A. & Weber, Guglielmo, 1989. "An expenditure-based estimate of Britain's black economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 17-32, June.
    32. Pencavel, John H., 1979. "A note on income tax evasion, labor supply, and nonlinear tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 115-124, August.
    33. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1974. "Income tax evasion: A theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 201-202, May.
    34. Christos Kotsogiannis & Xavier Mateos-Planas, 2019. "Tax Evasion as Contingent Debt," Discussion Papers 1903, Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The Aggregate Consequences of Tax Evasion
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2018-08-03 16:23:38

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. James Alm & Matthias Kasper, 2020. "Tax evasion, market adjustments, and income distribution," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 1-91, February.
    2. Almuth Scholl & Liang Tong, 2020. "Sovereign Default, Taxation, and the Underground Economy," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2020-02, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Sang Yoon (Tim) Lee, 2019. "Entrepreneurs, managers and inequality," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 32, pages 42-67, April.
    2. Bandyopadhyay, Debasis & King, Ian & Tang, Xueli, 2019. "Human capital misallocation, redistributive policies, and TFP," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 309-324.
    3. Bettina Brueggemann, 2016. "Higher Taxes at the Top: The Role of Entrepreneurs," 2016 Meeting Papers 332, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. López, José Joaquín, 2017. "A quantitative theory of tax evasion," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 107-126.
    5. Nezih Guner & Andrii Parkhomenko & Gustavo Ventura, 2018. "Managers and Productivity Differences," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 29, pages 256-282, July.
    6. Ranasinghe, Ashantha, 2017. "Property rights, extortion and the misallocation of talent," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 86-110.
    7. Zsofia Barany, 2018. "Taxation and Self-Employment," Sciences Po publications 2018-02, Sciences Po.
    8. Pavel Sevcik, 2015. "Financial Frictions, Internal Capital Markets, and the Organization of Production," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(3), pages 505-522, July.
    9. Julio Cesar Leal Ordonez, 2014. "Tax collection, the informal sector, and productivity," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(2), pages 262-286, April.
    10. Ferrreira, Ana Melissa, 2019. "Skill-Biased Technological Change and Inequality in the U.S," MPRA Paper 93914, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Hill, Enoch & Perez-Reyna, David, 2017. "Financial development and occupational choice," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 54(PB), pages 393-409.
    12. Lopez-Martin, Bernabe, 2019. "Informal Sector Misallocation," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(8), pages 3065-3098, December.
    13. Henrekson, Magnus & Sanandaji, Tino, 2013. "Small Business Activity Does not Measure Entrepreneurship," Working Paper Series 959, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 26 Jan 2014.
    14. Zsófia L. Bárány, 2017. "Taxation and self-employment," LIS Working papers 723, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    15. Clemens, Christiane & Heinemann, Maik, 2010. "On entrepreneurial risk-taking and the macroeconomic effects of financial constraints," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(9), pages 1610-1626, September.
    16. Lyon, Spencer G. & Waugh, Michael E., 2018. "Redistributing the gains from trade through progressive taxation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 185-202.
    17. Bento, Pedro & Restuccia, Diego, 2021. "On average establishment size across sectors and countries," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 220-242.
    18. Neira, Julian, 2019. "Bankruptcy and cross-country differences in productivity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 359-381.
    19. Nicolas Roys, 2016. "Persistence of Shocks and the Reallocation of Labor," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 22, pages 109-130, October.
    20. Krueger, D. & Mitman, K. & Perri, F., 2016. "Macroeconomics and Household Heterogeneity," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 843-921, Elsevier.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tax evasion; Self-Employment; Wealth inequality; Tax policy.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc18:181514. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/vfsocea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.