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There is growing evidence that individual responses to public policies are, to a large extent, mediated by the way the policies are framed, by people’s cognitive and computational capabilities, and by people’s subjective beliefs. For example, people may react to price changes but not to complicated schemes that rely on people’s computational abilities. Similarly, people may react better to simple information such as a picture than to a very detailed analysis of benefits and costs. Henceforth, even very well-intentioned policies may not have the desired impact if they do not take into account people’s capabilities and beliefs. This policy paper draws lessons that should help policymakers design more effective public policies by reviewing the evidence coming from recent field experiments and quasiexperiments sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank.
Tax evasion is a pervasive problem in many countries. In particular, some developing countries do not collect even half of what they would if taxpayers complied with the written letter of the law. The academic literature has not been oblivious to the need to explain why people pay (or do not pay) taxes. However, the empirical literature has not yet reached consensus. This paper reports the results ... (View publication)
There is an ample literature on the determinants of tax compliance. Several field experiments have evaluated the effect and comparative relevance of sending deterrence and moral suasion messages to taxpayers. The effect of different delivery mechanisms, however, has not been evaluated so far. This study conducts a field experiment in Colombia that varies the way the National Tax Agency contac ... (View publication)
This paper aims to provide an overview of the current state of taxation in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region, and its main reform needs and options. It previews the findings of recent studies prepared or commissioned by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for its forthcoming flagship publication More than Revenue: Taxation as a Development Tool in the -Development in the Americas- ... (View publication)
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