The paper studies tax evasion in an evolutionary setting. In addition to standard variables such as the fine individuals may have to pay if found guilty or the probability of being audited, agents' inclination to engage in tax evasion may also be affected by social interactions. Moreover, expected payoffs may include reputational costs or rewards awarded by society after an individual is audited. The paper shows how (i) social norms may play a very important role in defining the long run evolution of tax evasion and, consequently, that (ii) policymakers should consider reforms that would increase social awareness and information rather than more (financially and politically) expensive traditional auditing instruments; in addition, (iii) fiscal/auditing policies should be carefully tailored to the particular economic and social setting in place in a country.
|Accepted/In press - 8 May 2021