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Mind the (tax) gap: an ethnography of a number
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Technology and Social Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. (P6)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1088-065X
2017 (English)In: Journal of Cultural Economy, ISSN 1753-0350, E-ISSN 1753-0369, no 0, 1-15 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

This article looks carefully at the making of the tax gap as a calculative practice at the Swedish Tax Agency. It points to the challenges with assessing tax gap numbers and reveals examples of its careless usage by various stakeholders in Swedish society in order to impact the discourse on tax compliance. Based on an ethnographic study of documents, it is an example of a number that performs a dual function: on the one hand mobilizing people’s morals and subsequent commitments and on the other hand measuring such commitments. On a more general level, the tax gap is an example of how a number that describes a complicated reality is calculated with many caveats attached to it, yet used with certainty in society. I thus challenge the metaphor of the ubiquitous ‘black box’. The Swedish tax gap number is a calculated device and can be unpacked as a specific number. But if we think about what a tax gap ought to contain, we have to think outside the box and beyond: what was not included in the published tax gap number and why there was no room for it.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis Group, 2017. no 0, 1-15 p.
Keyword [en]
Calculative practices, black box, Sweden, tax gap number, fiscal anthropology
National Category
Social Anthropology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-138448DOI: 10.1080/17530350.2017.1323228OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-138448DiVA: diva2:1110677
Projects
FairTax 649439. European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme 2014-2018.
Funder
EU, Horizon 2020, 649439
Available from: 2017-06-16 Created: 2017-06-16 Last updated: 2017-06-20

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Björklund Larsen, Lotta
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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf