There is an infamous quip that ‘if all the economists in the world were laid end to end they still wouldn’t reach a conclusion’. Whilst this is no doubt intended to be a humorous remark it does have a serious edge. Economists, as a group, seem to be naturally disputatious. No sooner does someone come up with a new theoretical result or some new evidence than it is immediately challenged. In recent years outsiders must have been puzzled to hear of some of the arguments between economists over macroeconomic policy, for example. Of course, the researches of economists into aspects of the black economy and tax evasion are much less in the public gaze. However, the disagreements are almost as widespread. Much more importantly, research into the economics of tax evasion is still in its infancy. There is much to be done, too many areas about which we know too little for us to produce unequivocal conclusions. To pretend otherwise would be a grave disservice to both the general public and the economics profession. I hope, therefore, that I can be forgiven for producing only a few rather inconclusive comments on the economics of tax evasion by way of a conclusion. It seems natural to arrange these remarks in the same way as the structure of the book.
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David J. Pyle
- Palgrave Macmillan UK
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