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The Social Multiplier of Tax Evasion: Evidence from Italian Audit Data

Roberto Galbiati and Giulio Zanella ()

Department of Economics University of Siena from Department of Economics, University of Siena

Abstract: We investigate the role of individual interdependencies in tax evasion, arising from congestion on the auditing resources available to local tax authorities. Identification exploits a novel method based on comparison of the variance of individual behavior — concealed income in this case — at different levels of aggregation, within different subpopulations (Graham, 2008). This method allows us to mitigate some of the most severe problems that surround identification of neighbourhood effects, at the cost of identifying restrictions that arise naturally from our model. We employ a unique dataset of tax audits to about 75,000 self-employed individuals in Italy. Surprisingly, this sample is not statistically different from a random sample of taxpayers. We find a social multiplier of about 3, meaning that the equilibrium response to a shock that induces an exogenous variation in mean concealed income — such as tougher or looser tax enforcement — is about three times the initial average response

Keywords: social interactions; social multiplier; tax evasion; tax compliance; excess variance (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C31 H26 Z13 Z19 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2008-08
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-acc, nep-pbe, nep-pub and nep-soc
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (5)

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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:usi:wpaper:539

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