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Consumers as VAT “Evaders”: Incidence, Social Bias, and Correlates in Colombia Artículo uri icon


  • Tax evasion lies at the core of the relationship between citizens and the state: it reflects the level of trust in the state and compliance with society’s implicit social contract. However, empirically analyzing tax evasion is challenging, particularly because there are few direct and reliable measures. We conduct list experiments on a large sample of households to estimate how frequently consumers are willing to be complicit in value-added tax (VAT) evasion, as well as the extent of social desirability bias in respondent answers. Around 20 percent of respondents agree to make purchases without a receipt in order to avoid paying VAT; surprisingly, they are not ashamed to admit this openly. Evasion is more prevalent in places with more informality and less physical presence of the state, as well as among poorer, less educated individuals and those who disregard the rule of law.

fecha de publicación

  • 2019