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Tax Amnesties and Political Participation

Listed author(s):
  • Benno Torgler

    (Yale Center for International and Area Studies and CREMA (Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts))

  • Christoph A. Schaltegger

    (Swiss Federal Tax Administration, University of St. Gallen, and CREMA)

In many countries, thinking about a (new) tax amnesty is currently in vogue. However, international experience shows that the financial success of such a tax amnesty is not guaranteed, in part because it is thought that tax amnesties may over time undermine tax compliance. This article conducts experiments in two different countries (Switzerland and Costa Rica) to examine the effects of amnesties on compliance. In contrast to other experiments, these experiments analyze the relationship between tax compliance and subjects’ possibility to vote for or against an amnesty. The results suggest that tax compliance only increases after voting, when people get the opportunity to discuss the amnesty prior to voting. Thus, voting with discussion may induce a kind of civic duty, as taxpayers become aware of the importance of contributing to the provision of public goods.

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Article provided by in its journal Public Finance Review.

Volume (Year): 33 (2005)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 403-431

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Handle: RePEc:sae:pubfin:v:33:y:2005:i:3:p:403-431
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