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Heard it Through the Grapevine: Direct and Network Effects of a Tax Enforcement Field Experiment -- by William C. Boning, John Guyton, Ronald H. Hodge, II, Joel Slemrod, Ugo Troiano

Tax enforcement may affect both the behavior of those directly treated and of some taxpayers not directly treated but linked via a network to those who are treated. A large-scale randomized field experiment enables us to examine both the direct and network effects of letters and in-person visits on withheld income and payroll tax remittances by at-risk firms. Visited firms remit substantially more tax. Their tax preparers' other clients also remit slightly more tax, while their subsidiaries remit slightly less. Letters have a much smaller direct effect and no network effects, yet may improve compliance at lower cost.
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