Welcome! I am Director of Research at the EU Tax Observatory, Paris School of Economics. I specialise in public economics and taxation, in particular tax compliance and the empirical analysis of tax policy using administrative data.
My research uses administrative data and utilises discontinuities, exemptions and cut-offs created by policy to provide empirical evidence on economic behaviour and to estimate the effect on government revenue. Topics include novel forms of third-party reporting policy, tax lotteries and VAT incidence. You can find recent papers and ongoing projects in the research section.
The majority of my work is guided closely by policy developments, having spent the first part of my career (2013-2019) managing the Greek economic crisis in Brussels and Athens. Since 2021, I have been working on establishing the EU Tax Observatory in Paris; I direct its scientific programme, coordinate research output and manage relations with external stakeholders. You can find more in the policy section.
Dr. rer. pol. (eqv. PhD) Essays on the Economics of Taxation, 2023
Hertie School, Berlin
M.Phil in Economics, 2013
University of Oxford
BA(Hons) in Economics and Economic History, 2011
University of Manchester
This paper studies a tax lottery in Greece and documents an increase in VAT revenue. The lottery incentivises the use of electronic payments over cash to fight tax evasion by allocating EUR 1 million in prizes every month. Tickets are awarded automatically when individuals complete retail transactions by electronic means. I exploit a superdraw at the start of the lottery in Christmas Eve 2017; participation was unanticipated and individuals could not influence their winning chances. I estimate that regional VAT revenue increased by 0.01% per additional winner (or by EUR 2,700 compared to a EUR 1,000 winning prize). This effect can be explained through winners, who increased their electronic consumption by 14%. Lasting for five months, this channel alone cannot explain the entire VAT effect. A second channel is documented through spillover effects from winners to non-winners. The lottery’s positive outcome demonstrates the potential of electronic payments to raise tax revenue.
How effective are features of the income tax in incentivising a change in behaviour? I study how Greek taxpayers respond to a novel policy, which conditions their personal tax allowance on electronic consumption, requiring specific amounts to be reached during the financial year. Aimed at incentivising a change from cash to electronic payments, the policy includes almost all taxpayers by default, generates monthly electronic spending information and pre-fills the annual amounts spent in tax returns. Using a unique administrative dataset of 50,000 randomly-drawn taxpayers, I document (a) strong responses to the policy during tax filing, with 92% reporting the required amounts to gain the full tax discount, (b) evidence of increased reported amounts if consumption is lower than required, (c) economically and statistically significant electronic consumption responses in some taxpayers as the end-of-year deadline approaches. Adjustment costs in the form of policy inattention, liquidity constraints and low perceived costs of audit can explain the mixed policy outcome. The results suggest that linking incentives to existing features of the income tax system can trigger large responses, but the overall effect depends on adjustment costs in the taxpayer population.
Tax lotteries can increase tax compliance by providing incentives to consumers to ask for a receipt. Whilst their effectiveness has been studied in economic literature, less is known about their progressivity. Using administrative data from the Greek tax lottery, I analyse the income, consumption and occupational characteristics of winners and I document that high income individuals win more frequently. A 10% increase in taxpayer [spousal] income is associated with a 0.11% [0.6%] increase in the winning probability. Self-employed or business owners record particularly large amounts of transactions and receive a large number of lottery tickets, which indicates either under-reporting of income or the channeling business expenditure through personal bank accounts. They exhibit 18% higher winning probability than other occupational categories. Using Monte Carlo simulations, I explore reforms for tax lottery design and I find that a monthly ticket ceiling per individual improves prize allocation and progressivity. Additional results with economic significance are (i) imperfect income sharing within household (ii) a marginal propensity to consume at 0.18.
Currently at analysis phase. We exploit the repeal of preferential VAT rates (from 17% to 24%) in Greek islands during the Greek economic crisis to investigate responses of firms to corporate taxes and tax avoidance. The repeal time and choice of islands was unanticipated. We combine the universe of corporate tax returns with Orbis data to construct a control group of corporations located in islands not subject to the preferential VAT rate (always at 24%). We document a decrease in sales, profits and taxes reported in annual tax returns. This suggest that a VAT rate increase might lead to second-round effects through lower consumer demand and lower profits for firms.