DP11229 "Flattening" the Tax Evasion: Evidence from the Post-Communist Natural Experiment

Author(s): Randall K. Filer, Jan Hanousek, Tomáš Lichard, Karine Torosyan
Publication Date: April 2016
Keyword(s): consumption-income gap, Flat tax, tax evasion, tax reform, underreporting
JEL(s): C34, H26
Programme Areas: Labour Economics, Public Economics
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=11229

We analyze the response of tax evasion to the introduction of a flat tax in several transition economies. Using a novel estimator based on household level data, we show that in most of the studied countries there was no discernible effect on the measured size of unreported income following flat tax reform. This may imply that decreases in marginal tax rate may frequently have been accompanied by parallel deterioration in attitudes towards public services and these countries' government in general as the only countries that show a response to the flat tax reform appear to be those where satisfaction with government services increased. Additionally, our results show a pro-cyclicality of the size of the shadow economy that is in line with previous research.