Summary of Tax Evasion and Inequality

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Tax Evasion and Inequality summary

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Politicians decry the inequality gap between the wealthy and the vast majority of income earners. But according to this erudite report by professors Annette Alstadsæter, Niels Johannesen and Gabriel Zucman, one reason the rich are growing richer is tax evasion. The authors uncover substantial evidence, some of it from the leaked Panama Papers, that wealthy individuals are fairly aggressive in their tax evasion schemes. The researchers advise public authorities to target these activities to improve income inequality while rectifying tax revenue imbalances. 

About the Authors

Annette Alstadsæter is a professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. Niels Johannesen is a professor at the University of Copenhagen. Gabriel Zucman is an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley.


The economic, political and social implications of wealth and income inequality are growing. Policy experts assessing the causes of inequity are increasingly looking to tax evasion by the wealthy as a fundamental cause of the wealth and income gap. In conjunction with existing financial and tax data in the advanced economies of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, the explosive details of the Swiss Leaks and Panama Papers scandals reveal the intricacies of offshore financial havens and wealth secrecy schemes.

While the rate of tax evasion in these nations averages about 3%, the “ultra-wealthy” – ...

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