Tax Administration and Compliance: Evidence from Medieval Paris

68 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2019 Last revised: 18 Feb 2019

See all articles by Al Slivinski

Al Slivinski

University of Western Ontario - Department of Economics

Nathan Sussman

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Date Written: February 2019

Abstract

We analyze the Parisian taille of the late 13th century - a taxation mechanism used to finance periodic major expenditures by the French Crown, including wars. Our major finding is that this system was remarkably successful along a number of dimensions, in an environment without the administrative structures used by contemporary governments. The taille's essential features were; an agreement between the king and city government to collect a fixed amount of revenue, and a collection process that made use of information about taxpayers held by their fellow artisans and/or neighbors. We show that it collected considerable sums without social unrest, with high levels of compliance, and administrative costs that were low even by modern standards. We also argue that its success may have lessons for improved tax collection and compliance in contemporary less-developed economies.

Keywords: compliance, evasion, Fairness, institutions, middle ages, Paris, taxation

JEL Classification: H2, H21, H26, N13, N43

Suggested Citation

Slivinski, Alan and Sussman, Nathan, Tax Administration and Compliance: Evidence from Medieval Paris (February 2019). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP13512. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3332315

Alan Slivinski (Contact Author)

University of Western Ontario - Department of Economics ( email )

Social Science Centre
London, Ontario N6A 5C2
Canada
515-661-3500 (Phone)

Nathan Sussman

Hebrew University of Jerusalem ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem 91905, IL Jerusalem 91905
Israel

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
0
Abstract Views
147
PlumX Metrics