Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Discussion Paper Series in Economics,
Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics

No 10/2017: You’ve got mail: A randomised Field experiment on tax evasion.

Kristina Maria Bott (), Alexander W. Cappelen (), Erik Ø. Sørensen () and Bertil Tungodden ()
Additional contact information
Kristina Maria Bott: Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Postal: NHH , Department of Economics, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway
Alexander W. Cappelen: Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Postal: NHH , Department of Economics, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway
Erik Ø. Sørensen: Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Postal: NHH , Department of Economics, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway
Bertil Tungodden: Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Postal: NHH , Department of Economics, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway

Abstract: We report from a large-scale randomized field experiment conducted on a unique sample of more than 15 000 taxpayers in Norway, who were likely to have misreported their foreign income. We find that the inclusion of a moral appeal or a sentence that increases the perceived probability of detection in a letter from the tax authorities almost doubled the average self-reported foreign income. The moral letter mainly works on the intensive margin, while the detection letter mainly works on the extensive margin. We also show that the detection letter has large long-term effects on tax compliance.

Keywords: Taxation; tax evasion; field Experiment.

JEL-codes: C93; D63; H26

51 pages, June 11, 2017

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