International Tax and Public Finance

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 54–77 | Cite as

Measuring, explaining, and controlling tax evasion: lessons from theory, experiments, and field studies

  • James AlmEmail author


In this paper, I assess what we have learned about tax evasion since Michael Allingham and Agnar Sandmo launched the modern analysis of tax evasion in 1972. I focus on three specific questions and the answers to these questions that have emerged over the years. First, how do we measure the extent of evasion? Second, how can we explain these patterns of behavior? Third, how can we use these insights to control evasion? In the process, I illustrate my own answers to these questions by highlighting various specific examples of research. My main conclusion is that we have learned many things but that we also still have many gaps in our understanding of how to measure, explain, and control tax evasion. I also give some suggestions—and some predictions—about where promising avenues of future research may lie.


Tax evasion Behavioral economics Experimental economics 

JEL Classification

H2 H26 D03 C9 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsTulane UniversityNew OrleansUSA

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