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Re-assessing the merits of measuring tax evasions through surveys: Evidence from Serbian firms

Author

Listed:
  • Kundt, Thorben C.
  • Misch, Florian
  • Nerré, Birger

Abstract

This paper addresses the major weakness of measuring tax evasion through business and household surveys, namely the reluctance of respondents to answer truthfully due to the threat of disclosure. First, we assess the merits of a novel questioning method to gather information about tax evasion by means of business surveys. This approach allows estimating the prevalence of tax evasion, but it does not allow identifying whether the individual firm engages in tax evasion or not, therefore providing incentives for survey participants to answer truthfully. Second and contrary to most other business surveys, we differentiate between two common modes of tax evasion, namely underreporting of sales and informal supplements to official wages ('envelope wages'). Using evidence from Serbia, we show that the estimated share of firms which underreport sales and wages, respectively, by at least 10% is higher under the crosswise model compared to the case when conventional questioning methods applied in business surveys such as the World Bank Enterprise Surveys are used. However, the difference is only significant with respect to sales. These results appear to be robust to a number of modifications, and we explore various potential causes that lead to these results.

Suggested Citation

  • Kundt, Thorben C. & Misch, Florian & Nerré, Birger, 2013. "Re-assessing the merits of measuring tax evasions through surveys: Evidence from Serbian firms," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-047, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:13047
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    Cited by:

    1. Friesenbichler, Klaus S. & Selenko, Eva & Clarke, George R.G., 2015. "How much of a nuisance is greasing the palms? A study on job dedication and attitudes towards corruption reports under answer bias control," MPRA Paper 67331, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Kundt, Thorben, 2014. "Applying “Benford’s law” to the Crosswise Model: Findings from an online survey on tax evasion," Working Paper 148/2014, Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg.
    3. Marc Höglinger & Ben Jann, 2016. "More Is Not Always Better: An Experimental Individual-Level Validation of the Randomized Response Technique and the Crosswise Model," University of Bern Social Sciences Working Papers 18, University of Bern, Department of Social Sciences.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    tax evasion; shadow economy; measurement; developing countries;

    JEL classification:

    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy

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