IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jeborg/v140y2017icp176-196.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Culture, compliance, and confidentiality: Taxpayer behavior in the United States and Italy

Author

Listed:
  • Alm, James
  • Bernasconi, Michele
  • Laury, Susan
  • Lee, Daniel J.
  • Wallace, Sally

Abstract

This paper analyzes the impact of confidentiality of taxpayer information on the level of compliance in two countries with very different levels of citizen trust in government – the United States and Italy. Using identical laboratory experiments conducted in the two countries, we analyze the impact on tax compliance of “Full Disclosure” (e.g., release of photos of tax evaders to all subjects, along with information on the extent of their non-compliance) and of “Full Confidentiality” (e.g., no public dissemination of photos or non-compliance). Our empirical analysis applies a two-stage strategy that separates the evasion decision into its extensive (e.g., “participation”) and intensive (e.g. “amount”) margins. We find strong support for the notion that public disclosure acts as an additional deterrent to tax evaders, and that the deterrent effect is concentrated in the first stage of the two-stage model (or whether to evade or not). We also find that the deterrent effect is similar in the U.S. and in Italy, despite what appear to be different social norms of compliance in the two countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Alm, James & Bernasconi, Michele & Laury, Susan & Lee, Daniel J. & Wallace, Sally, 2017. "Culture, compliance, and confidentiality: Taxpayer behavior in the United States and Italy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 176-196.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:140:y:2017:i:c:p:176-196
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2017.05.018
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268117301531
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Alm, James, 2010. "Testing Behavioral Public Economics Theories in the Laboratory," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 63(4), pages 635-658, December.
    2. Erlend E. Bø & Joel Slemrod & Thor O. Thoresen, 2015. "Taxes on the Internet: Deterrence Effects of Public Disclosure," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 36-62, February.
    3. Fortin, Bernard & Lacroix, Guy & Villeval, Marie-Claire, 2007. "Tax evasion and social interactions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(11-12), pages 2089-2112, December.
    4. Cowell, Frank A. & P.F. Gordon, James, 1988. "Unwillingness to pay : Tax evasion and public good provision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 305-321, August.
    5. Kirchler,Erich, 2007. "The Economic Psychology of Tax Behaviour," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521876742, October.
    6. Frey, Bruno S. & Torgler, Benno, 2007. "Tax morale and conditional cooperation," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 136-159, March.
    7. Casal, Sandro & Mittone, Luigi, 2016. "Social esteem versus social stigma: The role of anonymity in an income reporting game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 55-66.
    8. Myles, Gareth D. & Naylor, Robin A., 1996. "A model of tax evasion with group conformity and social customs," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 49-66, April.
    9. Smith, Vernon L, 1982. "Microeconomic Systems as an Experimental Science," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 923-955, December.
    10. Bordignon, Massimo, 1993. "A fairness approach to income tax evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 345-362, October.
    11. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    12. Giorgio Coricelli & Mateus Joffily & Claude Montmarquette & Marie Villeval, 2010. "Cheating, emotions, and rationality: an experiment on tax evasion," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 13(2), pages 226-247, June.
    13. 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.
    14. James Alm & Kim M. Bloomquist & Michael McKee, 2015. "On The External Validity Of Laboratory Tax Compliance Experiments," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 53(2), pages 1170-1186, April.
    15. Slemrod, Joel & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 2002. "Tax avoidance, evasion, and administration," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 22, pages 1423-1470 Elsevier.
    16. Frank A. Cowell, 1990. "Cheating the Government: The Economics of Evasion," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262532484, November.
    17. Laury, Susan & Wallace, Sally, 2005. "Confidentiality and Taxpayer Compliance," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 58(3), pages 427-438, September.
    18. 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.
    19. James Alm, 2012. "Measuring, explaining, and controlling tax evasion: lessons from theory, experiments, and field studies," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(1), pages 54-77, February.
    20. Casagrande, Alberto & Cagno, Daniela Di & Pandimiglio, Alessandro & Spallone, Marco, 2015. "The effect of competition on tax compliance: The role of audit rules and shame," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 96-110.
    21. Traxler, Christian, 2010. "Social norms and conditional cooperative taxpayers," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 89-103, March.
    22. Cragg, John G, 1971. "Some Statistical Models for Limited Dependent Variables with Application to the Demand for Durable Goods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(5), pages 829-844, September.
    23. Makoto Hasegawa & Jefrey L. Hoopes & Ryo Ishida & Joel Slemrod, 2013. "The Effect of Public Disclosure on Reported Taxable Income: Evidence From Individuals and Corporations in Japan," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 66(3), pages 571-608, September.
    24. Benno Torgler & Markus Schaffner & Alison Macintyre, 2007. "Tax Compliance, Tax Morale And Governance Quality," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 225, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.
    25. Alm, James & Jacobson, Sarah, 2007. "Using Laboratory Experimentsin Public Economics," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 60(1), pages 129-152, March.
    26. Agnar Sandmo, 2012. "An evasive topic: theorizing about the hidden economy," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(1), pages 5-24, February.
    27. James Alm & Benno Torgler, 2011. "Do Ethics Matter? Tax Compliance and Morality," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 101(4), pages 635-651, July.
    28. Choo, C.Y. Lawrence & Fonseca, Miguel A. & Myles, Gareth D., 2016. "Do students behave like real taxpayers in the lab? Evidence from a real effort tax compliance experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 102-114.
    29. Benno Torgler, 2007. "Tax Compliance and Tax Morale," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 4096.
    30. Joel Slemrod, 2007. "Cheating Ourselves: The Economics of Tax Evasion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 25-48, Winter.
    31. Nigar Hashimzade & Gareth D. Myles & Binh Tran-Nam, 2013. "Applications Of Behavioural Economics To Tax Evasion," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(5), pages 941-977, December.
    32. Christoph Engel & Peter G. Moffatt, 2014. "dhreg, xtdhreg, and bootdhreg: Commands to implement double-hurdle regression," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 14(4), pages 778-797, December.
    33. Smith, Vernon L, 1976. "Experimental Economics: Induced Value Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 274-279, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tax compliance; Experimental economics; Confidentiality; Social norms;

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:140:y:2017:i:c:p:176-196. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.