Expanding the Theory of Tax Compliance from Individual to Group Motivations
AbstractTaxpayers face well-known and well-identified individual motivations in their compliance decisions, motivations that originate with the standard economic model of tax evasion in which financial incentives are shaped by audit, penalty, and tax rates. However, there is growing evidence that these individual incentives, while important, are not always decisive. Individuals do not always behave as the selfish, rational, self-interested individuals portrayed in the standard neoclassical paradigm, but rather are often motivated by many other factors that have as their main foundation some aspects of social norms, morality, altruism, fairness, or the like, factors that I broadly and no doubt imprecisely lump together as group motivations. I argue that the compliance puzzle can be explained, at least in part, by expanding the standard analysis of individual compliance behavior to incorporate the important ways in which individual decisions are shaped by group motivations. I also provide empirical and experimental evidence to support these arguments, and, I suggest â€“ and predict â€“ some promising lines of future research.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Tulane University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1309.
Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2013
Date of revision:
tax evasion; behavioral economics; experimental economics;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
- H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion
- D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics; Underlying Principles
- C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ACC-2013-03-30 (Accounting & Auditing)
- NEP-ALL-2013-03-30 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2013-03-30 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-CDM-2013-03-30 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-EXP-2013-03-30 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-HPE-2013-03-30 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-IUE-2013-03-30 (Informal & Underground Economics)
- NEP-PUB-2013-03-30 (Public Finance)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Henrik J. Kleven & Martin B. Knudsen & Claus T. Kreiner & Søren Pedersen & Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "Unwilling or Unable to Cheat? Evidence from a Randomized Tax Audit Experiment in Denmark," NBER Working Papers 15769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Joel Slemrod & Caroline Weber, 2012. "Evidence of the invisible: toward a credibility revolution in the empirical analysis of tax evasion and the informal economy," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 25-53, February.
- James C. Cox, 2012.
"Private Goods, Public Goods, and Common Pools with Homo Reciprocans,"
Southern Economic Journal,
Southern Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 1-14, July.
- James C. Cox, 2012. "Private Goods, Public Goods and Common Pools with Homo Reciprocans," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2012-06, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
- Roberta Calvet & James Alm, 2013.
"Empathy, Sympathy, and Tax Compliance,"
1310, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
- Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998.
"A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
1812, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., . "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Chapters in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory Of Fairness, Competition, And Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868, August.
- Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, . "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," IEW - Working Papers 004, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- Alm, James & McClelland, Gary H & Schulze, William D, 1999. "Changing the Social Norm of Tax Compliance by Voting," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 141-71.
- Joel Slemrod, 2007. "Cheating Ourselves: The Economics of Tax Evasion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 25-48, Winter.
- James Alm, 2012.
"Measuring, explaining, and controlling tax evasion: lessons from theory, experiments, and field studies,"
International Tax and Public Finance,
Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 54-77, February.
- James Alm, 2012. "Measuring, Explaining, and Controlling Tax Evasion: Lessons from Theory, Experiments, and Field Studies," Working Papers 1213, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
- Alm, James & Jackson, Betty R. & McKee, Michael, 1993. "Fiscal exchange, collective decision institutions, and tax compliance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 285-303, December.
- Erard, Brian & Feinstein, Jonathan S, 1994. "The Role of Moral Sentiments and Audit Perceptions in Tax Compliance," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 49(Supplemen), pages 70-89.
- Alm, James & McClelland, Gary H. & Schulze, William D., 1992. "Why do people pay taxes?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 21-38, June.
- Agnar Sandmo, 2012. "An evasive topic: theorizing about the hidden economy," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 5-24, February.
- Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979.
"Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk,"
Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
- Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
- Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
- Allingham, Michael G. & Sandmo, Agnar, 1972. "Income tax evasion: a theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 323-338, November.
- Kirchler, Erich & Hoelzl, Erik & Wahl, Ingrid, 2008. "Enforced versus voluntary tax compliance: The "slippery slope" framework," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 210-225, April.
- James Alm & Jorge Martinez-Vazque & Benno Torgler, 2006.
"Russian attitudes toward paying taxes – before, during, and after the transition,"
International Journal of Social Economics,
Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 33(12), pages 832-857, December.
- James Alm & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Benno Torgler, 2005. "Russian Attitudes Toward Paying Taxes ? Before, During, and After the Transition," CREMA Working Paper Series 2005-27, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
- Benno Torgler & James Alm & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, 2005. "Russian Attitudes Toward Paying Taxes – Before, During, and After the Transition," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0518, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
- Alm, James & Torgler, Benno, 2006.
"Culture differences and tax morale in the United States and in Europe,"
Journal of Economic Psychology,
Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 224-246, April.
- James Alm & Benno Torgler, 2004. "Culture Differences and Tax Morale in the United States and in Europe," CREMA Working Paper Series 2004-14, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
- Gordon, James P. P., 1989. "Individual morality and reputation costs as deterrents to tax evasion," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 797-805, April.
- Bernasconi, Michele, 1998. "Tax evasion and orders of risk aversion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 123-134, January.
- Brian Erard & Jonathan Feinstein, 1994. "The Role of Moral Sentiments and Audit Perceptions in Tax Compliance," Carleton Industrial Organization Research Unit (CIORU) 94-03, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
- Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Keith Finlay).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.