NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Dina Pomeranz

Contact and additional information for this authorAll publicationsWorking Papers only

Working Papers

July 2013No Taxation without Information: Deterrence and Self-Enforcement in the Value Added Tax
w19199
Tax evasion generates billions of dollars of losses in government revenue and creates large distortions, especially in developing countries. Claims that the VAT facilitates tax enforcement by generating paper trails on transactions between firms have contributed to widespread VAT adoption worldwide, but there is little empirical evidence about this mechanism. This paper analyzes the role of third party information for VAT enforcement through two randomized experiments among over 400,000 Chilean firms. Announcing additional monitoring has less impact on transactions that are subject to a paper trail, indicating the paper trail's preventive deterrence effect. Tax enforcement leads to strong spillovers up the VAT chain, increasing compliance by firms' suppliers. These findings confirm that wh...
September 2012Under-Savers Anonymous: Evidence on Self-Help Groups and Peer Pressure as a Savings Commitment Device
with Felipe Kast, Stephan Meier: w18417
We test the effectiveness of self-help peer groups as a commitment device for precautionary savings, through two randomized field experiments among 2,687 microentrepreneurs in Chile. The first experiment finds that self-help peer groups are a powerful tool to increase savings (the number of deposits grows 3.5-fold and the average savings balance almost doubles). Conversely, a substantially higher interest rate has no effect on most participants. A second experiment tests an alternative delivery mechanism and shows that effects of a similar size can be achieved by holding people accountable through feedback text messages, without any meetings or peer pressure.

Contact and additional information for this authorAll publicationsWorking Papers only

 
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