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Title: Social mechanisms of tax behaviour
Author: Ibarra Olivares, Rebeca
ISNI:       0000 0004 4545 7784
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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The main goal of this thesis is to provide a sociologically informed analysis of tax avoidance and tax evasion in contemporary Mexico and Sweden, focusing particular attention on the explanatory role of social networks, social interactions, and positive feedback mechanisms. Two major data sources are used: (1) A panel dataset that includes all persons, 16 years or older, who resided in Stockholm County during at least one of the years 1990 to 2003 (N=1,967,993). The dataset includes detailed information on the socio-demographic characteristics, kinship networks, and criminal offences of these individuals; (2) A random sample of 36,949 firms that appeared in the Mexican Federal Register of Taxpayers for the year 2002. The records of the Mexican Federal Administrative Fiscal Tribunal provided data on all types of tax claims appealed before them during the 2002-2008 period. A variety of approaches and techniques are used such as agent-based simulation models, discrete time event history models, random effect logit models, and hierarchical linear models. These models are used to test different hypotheses related to the role of social networks, social interactions, and positive feedback mechanisms in explaining tax behaviour. There are five major empirical findings. (1) Networks seem to matter for individuals' tax behaviour because exposure to tax crimes of family members appears to increase a person’s likelihood of committing a tax crime. (2) Positive feedback mechanisms appear relevant because if a person commits a tax crime, it seems to increase the likelihood that the person will commit more tax crimes in the future. (3) Positive feedback mechanisms are also important for explaining corporate tax behaviour because a firm that has engaged in legal tax avoidance in the past appears to be more likely to engage in tax avoidance in the future. (4) Network effects are important in the corporate world because exposure to the tax avoidance of other firms increase the propensity of a firm to engage in tax avoidance. (5) Substitution effects between tax evasion and tax avoidance are likely to exist because when tax evasion becomes more prevalent in a firm’s environment, their likelihood of engaging in legal tax avoidance is lowered. The results underscore the importance of a sociological perspective on tax behaviour that takes into account social interactions and positive feedback mechanisms. In order to understand microscopic as well as macroscopic tax evasion patterns, the results presented in this thesis suggest that much more attention must be given to mechanisms through which taxation crimes breed more taxation crimes.
Supervisor: Biggs, Michael Sponsor: Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, Mexico (CONACyT)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Social influence ; Sociology ; Taxation ; Criminology ; Computer simulation in sociology ; Statistics (social sciences) ; tax-behaviour ; social-mechanisms ; taxpayer-compliance ; evasion ; corporate-tax-avoidance ; Mexico ; Sweden ; tax-crimes ; social-networks ; social-interactions