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Abstract

We use tax and historical records to analyze the Parisian taille - an institution that resolved the tax compliance problem. The taille’s essential features were; an agreement between the king and city government to collect a fixed amount of revenue and a sequential collection process that included public revelation of individual tax assessments prior to their collection. Modelling the taille tax game shows both features are necessary for a unique equilibrium of efficient tax compliance. A social norm that allocated this tax mainly to the elites provided for its peaceful collection. Data from 14th century Paris show the desired revenues were efficiently collected with high levels of compliance, despite minimal bureaucratic machinery.

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