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Tax Evasion and Corruption: theoretical models and empirical studies. A quantitative-based approach for the Italian case

PRIN 2022

P.I. Prof. Elisabetta Michetti (Macerata University)

Other research units:
Urbino (coordinator Fabio Tramontana)
Catania (coordinator Fabio Lamantia)



Tax Evasion and Corruption have several detrimental effects on economies. “Tax evasion aggravates the levy on honest taxpayers,
subtracts resources from the public budget and introduces distortions between economic operators, altering the conditions of
competition, with negative repercussions on the efficiency of the economic system as a whole” (PNRR 2020). “By creating business
uncertainty, slowing processes, and imposing additional costs, [corruption] has a negative impact on economic growth” (Horizon
Europe, SSH relevant topics 2021). The problem is particularly acute in Italy, a country in the top position for tax evasion in Europe
(Relazione sull’economia non osservata e sull’evasione fiscale contributiva 2020) and the 17th out of 27 Members for corruption
(Corruption Perceptions Index 2021).
The remarkable attention paid by the European Union and Italy to corruption and tax evasion witnesses the challenge to find new
channels to fight them. On one side, reducing tax evasion and corruption represents an economic target in response to Country
Specific Recommendations 2019 on fiscal policy (CSR 1, PNRR) and on criminal justice (CSR 4, PNRR). The former is expected to be
achieved through more targeted selections of taxpayers at a greater risk of evasion, made possible by the application of more
advanced data analysis tools and the interoperability of databases. The latter focuses on fighting corruption by rationalizing and
reviewing the rules of public controls of private activities, often the occasion of corruptive activities. On the other side, Horizon
Europe research funding has put “Effective fight against corruption” between the relevant topics to be addressed in SSH.

The pursuit of these ambitious goals can benefit from modern and validated tools. TEC aims to better understand the phenomenon
of tax evasion and corruption with the general objective of outlying effective tools to combat them. TEC will address such questions
by using an agent-based modeling and a quantitative approach in both complementary and strictly integrated perspectives, i.e. the
economic modeling perspective, the dynamical analysis perspective, the empirical perspective and the experimental perspective.
TEC will be realized by three research units (RU), University of Macerata (RU1), University of Calabria (RU2) and University of Urbino
(RU3), working along three research lines both side by side and in coordination with each other, thus guaranteeing methodological
interchange and interdisciplinarity. TEC has a valuable impact and potential applications on the scientific community, as well as in
terms of economic-policy, pursuing policymakers tools to design more effective and adequate policies to fight corruption and tax
evasion, and for society, by promoting behavioral changes needed for achieving a societal transformation towards more legality.