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Moral suasion: An alternative tax policy strategy? Evidence from a controlled field experiment in Switzerland

  • Benno Torgler
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    With data gained from a controlled field experiment in Switzerland this paper analyses the effects of moral suasion on the timely paying and the timely filling out of the tax form 2001. Comparisons of different tax filing years and multiple regression estimations have been done using these two factors as dependent variables to check if there is a significant difference between the control group and the treatment group. In February 2002 the treatment group received a letter signed by the commune’s fiscal commissioner containing normative appeals. Results indicate that moral suasion has hardly any effect on taxpayers’ compliance behaviour. The strongest effect can be observed for the variable tax payments. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin/Heidelberg 2004

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10101-004-0077-7
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    Article provided by Springer in its journal Economics of Governance.

    Volume (Year): 5 (2004)
    Issue (Month): 3 (November)
    Pages: 235-253

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:ecogov:v:5:y:2004:i:3:p:235-253
    DOI: 10.1007/s10101-004-0077-7
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    1. Erard, Brian & Ho, Chih-Chin, 2001. "Searching for ghosts: who are the nonfilers and how much tax do they owe?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 25-50, July.
    2. Marsha Blumenthal & Charles Christian & Joel Slemrod, 2001. "Taxpayer response to an increased probability of audit: Evidence from a controlled experiment in minnesota," Natural Field Experiments 00332, The Field Experiments Website.
    3. Blumenthal, Marsha & Christian, Charles W. & Slemrod, Joel, 2001. "Do Normative Appeals Affect Tax Compliance? Evidence from a Controlled Experiment in Minnesota," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 1), pages 125-38, March.
    4. Bosco, Luigi & Mittone, Luigi, 1997. "Tax Evasion and Moral Constraints: Some Experimental Evidence," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(3), pages 297-324.
    5. 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.
    6. James Andreoni & Brian Erard & Jonathan Feinstein, 1998. "Tax Compliance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 818-860, June.
    7. Benno Torgler & Christoph A. Schaltegger & Markus Schaffner, 2003. "Is Forgiveness Divine? A Cross-Culture Comparison of Tax Amnesties," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 139(III), pages 375-396, September.
    8. Brian Erard & Chih-Chin Ho, 1999. "Searching for Ghosts: Who Are the Nonfilers nd How Much Tax Do They Owe?," Carleton Economic Papers 99-11, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2001.
    9. Gary Burtless, 1995. "The Case for Randomized Field Trials in Economic and Policy Research," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 63-84, Spring.
    10. Clotfelter, Charles T, 1983. "Tax Evasion and Tax Rates: An Analysis of Individual Returns," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(3), pages 363-73, August.
    11. Pyle, D J, 1991. " The Economics of Taxpayer Compliance," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(2), pages 163-98.
    12. Jonathan S. Feinstein, 1991. "An Econometric Analysis of Income Tax Evasion and its Detection," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(1), pages 14-35, Spring.
    13. Albert Breton & Ronald Wintrobe, 1978. "A Theory of 'Moral' Suasion," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 11(2), pages 210-19, May.
    14. Torgler, Benno, 2002. " Speaking to Theorists and Searching for Facts: Tax Morale and Tax Compliance in Experiments," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(5), pages 657-83, December.
    15. Samuel Bowles, 1998. "Endogenous Preferences: The Cultural Consequences of Markets and Other Economic Institutions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 75-111, March.
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