NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Matias Giaccobasso

Anderson School of Management - UCLA
110 Westwood Plaza, C 3.10
Los Angeles, CA 90077
Tel: 424 213 3237

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: University of California, Los Angeles

NBER Working Papers and Publications

July 2017Tax Audits as Scarecrows: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment
with Marcelo L. Bérgolo, Rodrigo Ceni, Guillermo Cruces, Ricardo Perez-Truglia: w23631
The canonical model of Allingham and Sandmo (1972) predicts that firms evade taxes by optimally trading off between the costs and benefits of evasion. However, there is no direct evidence that firms react to audits in this way. We conducted a large-scale field experiment in collaboration with Uruguay’s tax authority to address this question. We sent letters to 20,440 small- and medium-sized firms that collectively paid more than 200 million dollars in taxes per year. Our letters provided exogenous yet nondeceptive signals about key inputs for their evasion decisions, such as audit probabilities and penalty rates. We measured the effect of these signals on their subsequent perceptions about the auditing process, based on survey data, as well as on the actual taxes paid, based on administrat...
 
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