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Tax morale and (de-)centralization: An experimental study

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  • Werner Güth
  • Vittoria Levati

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  • Rupert Sausgruber

Abstract

We consider an economy composed of two regions. Each of them provides a public good whose benefits reach beyond local boundaries. In case of decentralization, taxes collected by members of a region are spent only on that region's public good. In case of centralization, tax receipts from the two regions are pooled and used to finance both public goods according to the population size of each region. The experiment shows that centralization induces lower tax morale and less efficient outcomes. The reasons are that centralization gives rise to an interregional incentive problem and creates inequalities in income between regions. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Suggested Citation

  • Werner Güth & Vittoria Levati & Rupert Sausgruber, 2005. "Tax morale and (de-)centralization: An experimental study," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 125(1), pages 171-188, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:125:y:2005:i:1:p:171-188 DOI: 10.1007/s11127-005-3414-7
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Stefan Voigt, 2011. "Positive constitutional economics II—a survey of recent developments," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(1), pages 205-256, January.
    2. Lars Gläser & Martin Halla, 2008. "Die EU-Zinsenrichtlinie: Ein Schuss in den Ofen?," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 9(1), pages 83-101, February.
    3. Möhlmann, Axel, 2013. "Investor home bias and sentiment about the country benefiting from the tax revenue," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 31-46.
    4. Lars P. Feld & Bruno S. Frey, 2006. "Tax Compliance as the Result of a Psychological Tax Contract: The Role of Incentives and Responsive Regulation," CREMA Working Paper Series 2006-10, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    5. Axel Möhlmann, 2014. "Persistence or Convergence? The East-West Tax-Morale Gap in Germany," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 70(1), pages 3-30, March.
    6. Alessandro Belmonte & Roberto Dell'Anno & Desiree Teobaldelli, 2016. "Tax Morale, Aversion to Ethnic Diversity, and Decentralization," Working Papers 07/2016, IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca, revised Dec 2016.
    7. Güth, Werner & Levati, M. Vittoria & Ploner, Matteo, 2008. "Social identity and trust--An experimental investigation," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1293-1308, August.
    8. Guglielmo Barone & Sauro Mocetti, 2011. "Tax morale and public spending inefficiency," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 18(6), pages 724-749, December.
    9. Lago-Peñas, Ignacio & Lago-Peñas, Santiago, 2010. "The determinants of tax morale in comparative perspective: Evidence from European countries," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 441-453, December.
    10. repec:bla:jecsur:v:31:y:2017:i:4:p:1095-1129 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Santiago Lago-Peñas & Agnese Sacchi, 2017. "The Impact Of Fiscal Decentralization: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(4), pages 1095-1129, September.
    12. Sausgruber, Rupert & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2014. "Discriminatory taxes are unpopular—Even when they are efficient and distributionally fair," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 463-476.
    13. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2011. "Tax Morale, Tax Evasion and the Shadow Economy," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Shadow Economy, chapter 10 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    14. Traxler, Christian, 2010. "Social norms and conditional cooperative taxpayers," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 89-103, March.
    15. Filippin, Antonio & Fiorio, Carlo V. & Viviano, Eliana, 2013. "The effect of tax enforcement on tax morale," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 320-331.
    16. Lars P. Feld & Bruno S. Frey, 2007. "Tax Evasion, Tax Amnesties and the Psychological Tax Contract," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0729, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    17. Bergh, Andreas, 2008. "A critical note on the theory of inequity aversion," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 1789-1796, October.
    18. Nichita Ramona-Anca & Batrancea Larissa-Margareta, 2012. "The Implications Of Tax Morale On Tax Compliance Behavior," Annals of Faculty of Economics, University of Oradea, Faculty of Economics, vol. 1(1), pages 739-744, July.
    19. Wilfried Anicet Kouamé, 2015. "Tax Morale and Trust in Public Institutions," Cahiers de recherche 15-14, Departement d'Economique de l'École de gestion à l'Université de Sherbrooke, revised Oct 2017.
    20. Werner Güth & Matteo Ploner & Vittoria Levati, "undated". "The Effect of Group Identity in an Investment Game," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2005-06, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General

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