Professor Filip Palda - Obituary

8 January, 2018

CERGE-EI has just learned with deep sadness that one of its colleagues and friends, Professor Filip Palda, has passed away in Toronto, Ontario.

Filip Palda was a full Professor in Economics at the École nationale d’administration publique (ENAP) and a Senior Fellow at the Fraser Institute. He held a Master’s degree from Queen’s University, and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago, where he studied under Gary S. Becker (Nobel Prize in Economics 1992). His research interests included cost-benefit analysis, tax analysis, public choice, the underground economy, and the effects of electoral rules on political competition. He had worked closely with CERGE-EI since 2000, especially with Professor Jan Hanousek.

In the 2000s, Hanousek and Palda published seven articles and papers on tax evasion, notably using survey data from the Czech Republic. They showed the existence of an "evasional Kuznets curve" during the transition in the Czech Republic and demonstrated (as well as estimated) displacement deadweight loss. In 2002 ("Why People Evade Taxes in the Czech and Slovak Republics: A Tale of Twins") and 2004 ("The Evolution of Tax Evasion in the Czech Republic: A Markov Chain Analysis"), Hanousek and Palda first studied the determinants of tax evasion (pinpointing rising incomes) by comparing the Czech and Slovak Republics, and then estimated parameters determining tax evasion in the Czech Republic from 1995 to 2004 (predicting an augmentation in the following years). In 2004, in KYKLOS (using survey data from Hungary and Poland, in addition to the Czech and Slovak Republics), they found that "citizens will avoid taxes if they do not believe they are getting quality government services for the taxes levied upon them." In 2005 and 2006, the two authors discussed how difficult it is to estimate tax evasion using the traditional money and electricity demands in transition economies, with the Czech Republic as a case study. Finally, in 2009, Hanousek and Palda estimated the displacement deadweight loss in the Czech Republic ("Is There a Displacement Deadweight Loss from Tax Evasion? Estimates Using Firm Surveys from the Czech Republic" in the journal Economic Change and Restructuring).

Filip Palda was of Czech origin: his father, Professor Kristian Palda, fled from communist Czechoslovakia in 1949, graduated at Queen’s University and continued his MA and PhD studies at the University of Chicago. After the fall of communism in 1989 he returned several times to the Czech Republic to help establish business schools. He was also awarded an honorary doctorate in law by Charles University in Prague in recognition of the fact that at the age of 20 he had been politically persecuted and expelled from law school. Filip was born in 1962 and later joined his father’s research efforts. He regularly visited Prague, learned Czech and met his wife Maria there. 

Professor Palda died on August 24, 2017, surrounded by his family and friends. Director Michal Kejak stated: “Our thoughts are with Filip's family. He will be greatly missed”.