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Rethinking the Research Paradigms for Analysing Tax Compliance Behaviour

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  • James Alm
  • Erich Kirchler
  • Stephan Muehlbacher
  • Katharina Gangl
  • Eva Hofmann
  • Christoph Kogler
  • Maria Pollai

Abstract

In this paper we give our perspective on the different paradigms that have shaped – and seem likely to shape in the future – research in the field of tax compliance behavior. These research paradigms include viewing tax evasion as a decision under risk made by a single taxpayer, as a social dilemma in which there is a tension between individual interests (e.g., cheating on one's taxes) and collective goals (e.g., providing public goods), as a series of decisions made by many different types of taxpayers, and as a psychological contract between tax authorities and taxpayers. We argue that these different paradigms require that particular attention be paid to the main "actors in the field", which involves going beyond a focus on a single taxpayer to consider other taxpayers, tax accountants, the tax authorities, and the government. The ways in which these actors interact in different climates, especially the dynamics of power and trust between the actors, must also be considered. We conclude with a discussion of a framework – the "slippery slope framework" – that attempts to synthesize these different research paradigms. Throughout, we illustrate our arguments by reference to research that focuses especially on the European experience.
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Suggested Citation

  • James Alm & Erich Kirchler & Stephan Muehlbacher & Katharina Gangl & Eva Hofmann & Christoph Kogler & Maria Pollai, 2012. "Rethinking the Research Paradigms for Analysing Tax Compliance Behaviour," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 13(2), pages 33-40, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ifofor:v:13:y:2012:i:2:p:33-40
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Colin C. Williams, 2014. "Confronting the Shadow Economy," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 15370, April.
    2. Georgia Kaplanoglou & Vassilis T. Rapanos & Nikolaos Daskalakis, 2016. "Tax compliance behaviour during the crisis: the case of Greek SMEs," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 405-444, December.
    3. Brizi, Ambra & Giacomantonio, Mauro & Schumpe, Birga M. & Mannetti, Lucia, 2015. "Intention to pay taxes or to avoid them: The impact of social value orientation," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 22-31.
    4. Luigi Mittone & Matteo Ploner & Eugenio Verrina, 2017. "When the State Doesn't Play Dice: An Experimental Analysis of Cunning Fiscal Policies and Tax Compliance," CEEL Working Papers 1702, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
    5. James Alm, 2014. "Expanding the theory of tax compliance from individual to group motivations," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Alternative Theories of Public Economics, chapter 12, pages 260-277 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Onu, Diana & Oats, Lynne, 2016. "“Paying tax is part of life”: Social norms and social influence in tax communications," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 29-42.
    7. repec:mgt:youmng:v:12:y:2017:i:4:p:333-353 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Gobena, Lemessa Bayissa & Van Dijke, Marius, 2016. "Power, justice, and trust: A moderated mediation analysis of tax compliance among Ethiopian business owners," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 24-37.
    9. repec:nwe:eajour:y:2017:i:3:p:333-351 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Kaplanoglou, Georgia & Rapanos, Vassilis T., 2015. "Why do people evade taxes? New experimental evidence from Greece," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 21-32.
    11. C. Williams, Colin & Kayaoglu, Aysegul, 2016. "Tackling The Informal Economy In The European Union: A Social Actor Approach," UTMS Journal of Economics, University of Tourism and Management, Skopje, Macedonia, vol. 7(2), pages 133-147.
    12. repec:jes:journl:y:2017:v:8:p:5-28 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. repec:eee:joepsy:v:62:y:2017:i:c:p:1-16 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. repec:ris:utmsje:0218 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Colin C Williams & Ioana A Horodnic, 2016. "Tackling the undeclared economy in the European Union: an evaluation of the tax morale approach," Industrial Relations Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(4), pages 322-340, July.
    16. Pickhardt, Michael & Prinz, Aloys, 2014. "Behavioral dynamics of tax evasion – A survey," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 1-19.
    17. repec:eee:ecosys:v:41:y:2017:i:3:p:354-366 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Colin C. Williams & Friedrich Schneider, 2016. "Measuring the Global Shadow Economy," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 16551, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Steuermoral; Steuerflucht;

    JEL classification:

    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance

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