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When do severe sanctions enhance compliance? The role of procedural fairness


  • Verboon, Peter
  • van Dijke, Marius


Building on theoretical notions that severe sanctions (more than mild ones) can communicate that sanctioned behavior is morally unacceptable, we argued that particularly authorities who enact the sanction procedures in a fair manner stimulate compliance with their decisions. This is because such authorities should be considered legitimate to communicate what is morally acceptable and unacceptable. This interactive effect of sanction size and procedural fairness on compliance should thus be mediated by moral evaluations of the authority. A field survey and an experiment revealed support for these predictions. These results thus support a non-instrumental perspective on the effectiveness of sanction severity in increasing compliance with authorities.

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  • Verboon, Peter & van Dijke, Marius, 2011. "When do severe sanctions enhance compliance? The role of procedural fairness," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 120-130, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:32:y:2011:i:1:p:120-130

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gneezy, Uri & Rustichini, Aldo, 2000. "A Fine is a Price," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 1-17, January.
    2. McCusker, Christopher & Carnevale, Peter J., 1995. "Framing in Resource Dilemmas: Loss Aversion and the Moderating Effects of Sanctions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 190-201, February.
    3. Kirchler, Erich & Wahl, Ingrid, 2010. "Tax compliance inventory TAX-I: Designing an inventory for surveys of tax compliance," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 331-346, June.
    4. van Dijke, Marius & Verboon, Peter, 2010. "Trust in authorities as a boundary condition to procedural fairness effects on tax compliance," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 80-91, February.
    5. Kirchler,Erich, 2007. "The Economic Psychology of Tax Behaviour," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521876742, March.
    6. 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.
    7. Ernst Fehr & Bettina Rockenbach, 2003. "Detrimental effects of sanctions on human altruism," Microeconomics 0305007, EconWPA.
    8. Hite, Peggy A., 1988. "An examination of the impact of subject selection on hypothetical and self-reported taxpayer noncompliance," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 445-466, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kastlunger, Barbara & Lozza, Edoardo & Kirchler, Erich & Schabmann, Alfred, 2013. "Powerful authorities and trusting citizens: The Slippery Slope Framework and tax compliance in Italy," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 36-45.
    2. Hartl, Barbara & Hofmann, Eva & Kirchler, Erich, 2016. "Do we need rules for “what's mine is yours”? Governance in collaborative consumption communities," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(8), pages 2756-2763.
    3. Pickhardt, Michael & Prinz, Aloys, 2014. "Behavioral dynamics of tax evasion – A survey," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 1-19.


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