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Extending the lessons of laboratory experiments on tax compliance to managerial and decision economics

Listed author(s):
  • James Alm

    (University of Colorado at Boulder, Department of Economics, Campus Box 256, Boulder, CO 80309-0256, USA)

  • Michael McKee

    (University of New Mexico, Department of Economics, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA)

In this paper we examine what experiments on tax compliance have revealed about compliance behavior, and we discuss what these experiments can reveal about managerial and decision economics. We draw two general conclusions from this discussion. First, compliance is a complicated decision, one that depends upon the financial incentives facing the decision-maker, including detection and punishment, but one that also depends upon many other factors that have not been considered by the standard economics-of-crime paradigm. Second, and as a consequence, broader approaches to the compliance decision are needed, ones that involve enforcement but that also encompass more complete models of behavior. Put differently, any company strategy based only on detection and punishment may well be a reasonable starting point for compliance but not a good ending point. Instead, what is needed is a multi-faceted approach that emphasizes enforcement, but that also emphasizes the broad range of motivations that explain why people obey rules and regulations. © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Managerial and Decision Economics.

Volume (Year): 19 (1998)
Issue (Month): 4-5 ()
Pages: 259-275

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Handle: RePEc:wly:mgtdec:v:19:y:1998:i:4-5:p:259-275
DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1468(199806/08)19:4/5<259::AID-MDE890>3.0.CO;2-2
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