Cheating the Government
The Economics of Evasion
Tax scams involving the rich and famous make eye-catching news copy. They also are part of a significant and growing economic problem - the "shadow economy" that defrauds the government. Frank Cowell is one of the worlds leading contributors to the theoretical economic analysis of tax evasion. In this book he systematically studies the underground economy to examine how certain types of economic analysis can be applied to tax evaders. He also recommends measures that can be taken to counteract the problem.Cowell's investigation raises questions that go to the heart of public economics and reveals the shortcomings of applying standard economic models of crime to tax evasion. He develops an analytical framework that shows how the underground economy grows and suggests simple economic mechanisms that will induce the behavior that leads to tax evasion.Having laid the analytical groundwork, Cowell turns to policy. He observes that standard welfare-based arguments against cheating are "decidedly flaccid" and points toward an enforcement policy that is informed by economic analysis, particularly in terms of scope and practicality.