Tax evasion, welfare fraud, and “the broken windows” effect: An experiment in Belgium, France and The Netherlands

  • Arno Riedl Arno Riedl
  • Marie Claire Villeval Marie Claire Villeval
  • Mathieu Lefebvre Mathieu Lefebvre
  • Pierre Pestieau Pierre Pestieau

In a series of experiments conducted in Belgium (Wallonia and Flanders), France and the Netherlands, we compare behavior regarding tax evasion and welfare dodging, with and without information about others’ behavior. Subjects have to decide between a ‘registered’ income, the realization of which will be known to the tax authority for sure, and an ‘unregistered’ income that will only be known with some probability. This unregistered income comes from self-employment in the Tax treatment and from black labor supplementing some unemployment compensation in the Welfare treatment. Subjects have then to decide on whether reporting their income or not, knowing the risk of detection. The results show that (i) individuals evade more in the Welfare treatment than in the Tax treatment; (ii) many subjects choose an option that allows for tax evasion or welfare fraud but report their income honestly anyway; (iii) examples of low compliance tend to increase tax evasion while examples of high compliance exert no influence; (iv) tax evasion is more frequent in France and the Netherlands; Walloons evade taxes less than the Flemish. There is no cross-country difference in welfare dodging.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

MORE ABOUT NETSPAR


Mission en strategy           •           Network           •           Organisation           •          Magazine
Board Brief            •            Actionplan 2023-2027           •           Researchagenda

ABOUT NETSPAR

Our partners

B20220412_SPIN_logo+naam_2xPMS_2_voettekst
B20160708_universiteit leiden
B20160708_asr
BPL_Pensioen_logo+pay-off - 1610-1225 v1.1_grijswaarden
B20221103_Zwitserlevengrayscale
View all partners