Mittone, Luigi (2002) Individual styles of tax evasion: an experimental study. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)
This paper studies the tax payers “styles” of tax evasion. It starts from a brief theoretical formulation of the tax payer’s decisional problem which incorporates a psychological element into the usual expected utility maximisation approach. This psychological component is founded on the hypothesis that tax payers feel their awareness that they are stealing their contribution to the tax yield from the other citizens as a moral cost. The theoretical model was tested by carrying out three experiments involving 90 experimental subjects. The most important finding to emerge from the experiments is that the traditional theoretical treatment of uncertainty and risk could not be used to provide a satisfactory explanation of the experimental subjects’ behaviour when faced by the uncertain choice of evasion. When the experimental subjects had to cope with a repeated choice problem, they developed a sort of learning strategy, using a trial and error process to explore the space of alternatives. They thus produced a personal “style” in solving the uncertainty problem. The paper shows that is possible to produce a concise taxonomy of these game styles which could be used as the basis for further theoretical analysis.
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