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A Field Experiment in Moral Suasion and Tax Compliance Focusing on Underdeclaration and Overdeduction

Listed author(s):
  • Benno Torgler
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    One of very few field experiments in tax compliance, this study generates a unique data set on Swiss taxpayers' underdeclaration of income and wealth and overdeduction of tax credits by obtaining exclusive access to tax-return corrections made by the tax administration. Using this commune-level data from Switzerland, it explores the influence on tax compliance of moral suasion, introduced through a treatment in which taxpayers receive a letter containing normative appeals signed by the commune's fiscal commissioner. This letter also serves to operationalize elements of social identity and (mutual) trust. Interestingly, the results not only echo the earlier finding that moral suasion has barely any effect on taxpayer compliance, but show clear differences between underdeclaration and overdeduction.

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    File URL: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/mohr/fa/2013/00000069/00000004/art00001
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    Article provided by Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen in its journal FinanzArchiv.

    Volume (Year): 69 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 393-411

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    Handle: RePEc:mhr:finarc:urn:sici:0015-2218(201312)69:4_393:afeims_2.0.tx_2-t
    DOI: 10.1628/001522108X675647
    Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.mohr.de/fa

    Order Information: Postal: Mohr Siebeck GmbH & Co. KG, P.O.Box 2040, 72010 Tübingen, Germany
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    1. Lars P. Feld & Bruno S. Frey, 2002. "Trust breeds trust: How taxpayers are treated," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 87-99, 07.
    2. Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2010. "The Credibility Revolution in Empirical Economics: How Better Research Design Is Taking the Con out of Econometrics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 3-30, Spring.
    3. 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.
    4. John A. List, 2011. "Why Economists Should Conduct Field Experiments and 14 Tips for Pulling One Off," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 3-16, Summer.
    5. repec:feb:artefa:0110 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Kirchler,Erich, 2007. "The Economic Psychology of Tax Behaviour," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521876742, August.
    7. Frey, Bruno S. & Torgler, Benno, 2007. "Tax morale and conditional cooperation," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 136-159, March.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. Kogler, Christoph & Batrancea, Larissa & Nichita, Anca & Pantya, Jozsef & Belianin, Alexis & Kirchler, Erich, 2013. "Trust and power as determinants of tax compliance: Testing the assumptions of the slippery slope framework in Austria, Hungary, Romania and Russia," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 169-180.
    11. Hartner , Martina & Rechberger, Silvia & Kirchler, Erich & Schabmann, Alfred, 2008. "Procedural Fairness and Tax Compliance," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 137-152, March.
    12. De Alessi, Louis, 1975. "Toward an Analysis of Postdisaster Cooperation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(1), pages 127-138, March.
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