AbstractsBusiness Management & Administration

Essays in Public and Corporate Finance

by Philipp Meyer-Brauns

Institution: Freie Universität Berlin
Department: FB Wirtschaftswissenschaft
Degree: PhD
Year: 2015
Record ID: 1110443
Full text PDF: http://edocs.fu-berlin.de/diss/receive/FUDISS_thesis_000000098497


This thesis aims to deepen the theoretical understanding of tax evasion. It focuses particularly, but not exclusively, on corporate tax evasion. Using microeconomic theory, especially contract-theoretic methods, chapters 2 and 3 analyze two features distinguishing corporate from individual tax evasion, namely the separation of ownership and control and corporate financing. In chapter 2, we consider how contracting between a non-specialist shareholder and a specialized tax manager influences the tax evasion game when the manager decides not only on how much taxes to evade, but also in what way to evade them. That is, she may decide on both qualitative and quantitative aspects of evasion. We find that taking this quality dimension into account, earlier results about the effect of asymmetric information on corporate tax evasion change. For instance, as the quality of tax evasion is reduced by informational asymmetries between the specialized tax manager and the non-specialist shareholder who hires her, the efficacy of tax enforcement increases. Tax enforcement is then stricter in equilibrium where firms enter principal-agent relationships to evade taxes, rather than more lenient as suggested by earlier findings. Chapter 3 considers the interaction of corporate financing and tax evasion. We extend the classic costly state verification model of financial contracting to allow for tax evasion by the borrowing entrepreneur. Because tax evasion is illegal, the potential proceeds from it are not contractible. The downside in case of detection, however, is potentially harmful to the investor. That is because fines for evasion may exhaust the entrepreneur's funds and thus constrain her ability to repay the investor. In this context, we find that standard debt contracts are no longer optimal. Instead, the optimal contract combines elements of debt and equity and is less efficient than a standard debt contract. In chapter 4 of this thesis, we examine how heterogeneous perceptions of audit risk by taxpayers influence the government's optimal tax audit policy. We find that a taxpayer population exhibiting such heterogeneity requires a substantially different optimal audit strategy. Whether the equilibrium audit intensity increases or decreases as a result of heterogeneity in audit perceptions depends on how costly audits are to the government. We also conduct a welfare analysis to gauge the impact of such heterogeneity on society. When the extent of heterogeneity in audit perceptions is either very small or very large, equilibrium social welfare is high, we find. By contrast, intermediate levels of heterogeneity are associated with lower levels of social welfare. Die vorliegende Arbeit untersucht mit Hilfe mikroökonomischer Theorie, insbesondere anhand vertragstheoretischer Methoden, verschiedene Aspekte der Steuerhinterziehung. Dabei liegt der Fokus vor allem, aber nicht ausschließlich, auf der Unternehmenssteuerhinterziehung. In Kapitel 2 wird analysiert, welchen Einfluss das Auseinanderfallen von Kontrolle und Eigentum in…