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Income underreporting among the self-employed: a permanent income approach

Per Engström () and Johannes Hagen ()

No 2015:2, Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies from Uppsala University, Department of Economics

Abstract: The consumption based method to estimate underreporting among self-employed, introduced by Pissarides andWeber (1989), is one of the workhorses in the empirical literature on tax evasion/avoidance. We show that failure to account for transitory income fluctuations in current income may overestimate the degree of underreporting by around 40 percent. Previous studies typically use instrumental variable methods to address the issue. In contrast, our access to registry based longitudinal income measures allows a direct approach based on more permanent income measures. This also allows us to evaluate the performance of a list of instruments widely used in the previous literature. Our analysis shows that capital income is the most suitable instrument in our application, while education and housing related measures do not seem to satisfy the exclusion restrictions.

Keywords: Income underreporting; tax evasion; self-employment; Engel curves; permanent income (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D12 H24 H25 H26 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 24 pages
Date: 2015-06-15
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-iue and nep-pbe
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Published as Engström, Per and Johannes Hagen, 'Income underreporting among the self-employed: a permanent income approach' in European Economic Review, 2017, pages 92-109.

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