Who Are the Worst Tax Dodgers in Greece?

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

Fascinating tidbit of the day: Tax evasion is so widespread and so culturally embedded in Greece that loan officers in banks have standard multipliers they use to convert reported income into real income. If you’re a doctor, for example, they assume your income is 2.45x what you report to the tax man. If you own a restaurant, they multiply by 1.99. If they didn’t do this, they’d never approve any loans at all because no one would have enough income to qualify.

It just goes to show how people manage to adapt to almost anything. But why the different multipliers for different industries? The Economist summarizes the paper that came up with the multipliers:

One hypothesis is that people in industries which generate a bigger “paper trail”—because they use more intermediate goods as inputs, for example—are at greater risk of being caught and therefore evade tax less. The authors do indeed find that industries that generate lots of traceable information have lower levels of evasion. But they also find another interesting correlation, between the professional backgrounds of Greek parliamentarians and the industries with high levels of tax evasion. Stripping out lawyers, who have a disproportionately nasty habit of becoming politicians, the three most tax-dodging professions account for about half the votes among Greek MPs. That, the authors say, might explain a lack of political willpower on the issue of tax evasion.

Apparently the retail industry in Greece desperately needs to elect more of its own to parliament. A multiplier of 1.27 is pathetic.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate