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Social norms and tax compliance: Framing the decision to pay tax

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  • Cullis, John
  • Jones, Philip
  • Savoia, Antonio

Abstract

Observed levels of tax compliance are higher than predicted levels (when predictions are based on Allingham and Sandmo's neoclassical model of tax evasion). They are higher if social norms recognise the importance of compliance. But how do social norms frame decisions to pay tax? Can prospect theory be applied to shed insight into the way that social norms exert their influence? An analysis of questionnaire responses (from Italy and from the UK) suggests that they exert their influence by changing the reference points that individuals use when they code changes as ‘gains’, or ‘losses’. The evidence suggests that social norms frame the decision to pay tax by changing individuals’ perceptions of their entitlement to income. This consideration is important when designing policy to deter evasion.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics).

Volume (Year): 41 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 159-168

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Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:41:y:2012:i:2:p:159-168

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620175

Related research

Keywords: Taxation; Decision making; Prospect theory; National identity: education;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Barile, L., 2012. "The Impact of Governmental Signals on Environmental Morale : a 'behavioural' approach," Department of Economics Working Papers 32984, University of Bath, Department of Economics.
  2. Tubetov, Dulat & Maart, Syster Christin & Musshoff, Oliver, 2012. "Comparison of the investment behavior of Kazakhstani and German farmers: An experimental approach," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124650, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  3. Tubetov, Dulat & Maart, Syster Christin & Musshoff, Oliver, 2012. "Comparison of the Investment Behavior of German and Kazakhstani Farmers: an Experimental Approach," Discussion Papers 122422, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.
  4. Christoph Bühren & Thorben C. Kundt, 2013. "Worker or Shirker – Who Evades More Taxes? A Real Effort Experiment," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201326, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  5. Yamamura, Eiji, 2012. "Norm for redistribution, social capital, and perceived tax burden: comparison between high- and low-income households," MPRA Paper 39434, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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