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Tax evasion, social norms, and economic growth

Carlos Bethencourt () and Lars Kunze

Journal of Public Economic Theory, 2019, vol. 21, issue 2, 332-346

Abstract: We propose a theoretical model to account for the negative relationship between tax evasion and economic development. More precisely, we integrate tax morale into a dynamic OLG model of tax evasion. Tax morale is modeled as a social norm for tax compliance. We show that accounting for such nonpecuniary costs of evasion may explain (a) why the share of evaded taxes over GDP decreases when countries grow and (b) that tax morale is positively correlated with the level of GDP per capita. Finally, a higher tax rate increases aggregate evasion and the number of evaders when taxpayers decisions are interdependent.

Date: 2019
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