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Anticorruption reforms, tax evasion, and the role of harassment

Dyuti S. Banerjee and Samarth Vaidya

Journal of Public Economic Theory, 2019, vol. 21, issue 1, 62-80

Abstract: We examine the impact of anticorruption reforms on tax evasion when corruption and potentially harassment are endemic among tax auditors. We find that the threat of harassment may counterintuitively boost the impact of such anticorruption reforms on tax evasion and also eliminate corruption. Specifically, a moderate anticorruption policy can discontinuously reduce tax evasion to a level even below that under no corruption. Further strengthening of such policy can nonetheless prove counterproductive and increase tax evasion. On the contrary, in the absence of harassment, a moderate anticorruption reform induces higher tax evasion and sustenance of bribery. In this case, only a large reform can reduce tax evasion and eliminate corruption.

Date: 2019
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Journal of Public Economic Theory is currently edited by Rabah Amir, Gareth Myles and Myrna Wooders

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