Januar 2014

IZA DP No. 7917: Circumstantial Risk: Impact of Future Tax Evasion and Labor Supply Opportunities on Risk Exposure

revised version published in: Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization

This paper examines whether risk-taking in a lottery depends on the opportunity to respond to the lottery outcome through additional labor effort and/or tax evasion. Previous empirical attempts to answer this question face identification issues due to self-selection into jobs that facilitate tax evasion and labor effort flexibility. We address these identification issues using a laboratory experiment (N = 180). Subjects have the opportunity to invest earned income in a lottery and, depending on randomly assigned treatment states, have the opportunity to respond to the lottery outcome through evasion and/or extra labor effort. We find strong evidence that ex-post access to labor opportunities reduces ex-ante risk willingness while access to tax evasion has no effect on risk behavior. We discuss possible explanations for this result based on the existing literature.