Date of Award

8-8-2007

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Economics

First Advisor

Dr. James R. Alm - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Francis G. Abney

Third Advisor

Dr. Mary Beth Walker

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Sally Wallace

Abstract

Essay one develops and tests a revenue-maximizing tax structure model. This model represents one of the first attempts to evaluate and compare the responsiveness of various tax instruments to tax evasion within a tax revenue maximization framework. We use data from both the OECD and East African countries and estimation is via a seemingly unrelated regression model. The GDP share of agricultural income is used as an instrument to correct for the simultaneity between tax revenue shares and tax evasion. Our findings indicate that tax evasion increases the tax authority’s reliance on consumption taxes vis-à-vis taxes on income, suggesting that diverse tax instruments respond differently to tax evasion, and as such the choice of a revenue-maximizing tax structure is influenced by the amount of revenue lost through tax evasion. Essay two analyzes the incidence of tax evasion in both the formal and informal sectors of the economy using a computable general equilibrium model. This essay incorporates the element of uncertainty in an individual’s decision to evade so as to account for the uncertainty of returns to the tax evader. We also allow for varying degrees of competi¬tion or entry across sectors in the economy to examine how much of the tax advantage is retained by the initial evaders and how much is shifted via factor and commodity price changes. Our simulation results show that the evading households’ post-evasion welfare is only 0.68-3.40 percent higher than the post-tax welfare if it had fully complied with taxes. The simulation results further reveal that the evading household keeps 77.1-83.2 percent of this initial increase in welfare, while 16.8-22.9 percent of this initial gain is competed away as a result of increased competition and entry into the informal sector. The compliant households’ welfare increases by 58.8-101.7 percent with increased competition in the informal sector. Therefore, if we construe the changes in consumer welfare as an overall indicator of the gains and/or losses from tax evasion, then the evading household only benefits marginally and this advantage diminishes with increased entry or competition in the informal sector.

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Economics Commons

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