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Experimental Evidence for Tax Policy Design (2005)



There is considerable evidence that enforcement efforts can increase tax compliance. However, there must be other forces at work because observed compliance levels cannot be fully explained by the level of enforcement actions typical of most tax authorities. Further, there are observed differences, not related to enforcement effort, in the levels of compliance across countries and cultures. To fully understand differences in compliance behavior across cultures one needs to understand differences in tax administration and citizen attitudes toward governments. The working hypothesis is that cross-cultural differences in behavior have foundations in these institutions. Tax compliance is a complex behavioral issue and its investigation requires the use of a variety of methods and data sources. Results from laboratory experiments conducted in different countries demonstrate that observed differences in tax compliance levels can be explained by differences in the fairness of tax administration, in the perceived fiscal exchange, and in the overall attitude towards the respective governments. These experimental results are shown to be robust by replicating them for the same countries using survey response measures of “tax morale.”

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  • Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Mark Rider & Lucy F. Ackert & Ann Gillette, 2005. "Experimental Evidence for Tax Policy Design (2005)," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0517, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:ays:ispwps:paper0517

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869.
    2. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    3. Lucy F. Ackert & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Mark Rider, 2004. "Tax policy design in the presence of social preferences: some experimental evidence," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2004-33, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    4. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
    5. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production: I--Production Efficiency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 8-27, March.
    6. John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309-309.
    7. Colin F. Camerer, 1997. "Progress in Behavioral Game Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 167-188, Fall.
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    Equity; Social preferences; Inequity aversion; Optimal taxation;

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