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Effects of Culture on Tax Compliance: A Cross Check of Experimental and Survey Evidence

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  • Ronald G. Cummings
  • Jorge Martinez-Vazquez
  • Michael McKee
  • Benno Torgler

Abstract

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.?

Suggested Citation

  • Ronald G. Cummings & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Michael McKee & Benno Torgler, 2004. "Effects of Culture on Tax Compliance: A Cross Check of Experimental and Survey Evidence," CREMA Working Paper Series 2004-13, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  • Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2004-13
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gloria Alarcón García & Arielle Beyaert & Laura de Pablos, 2012. "Fiscal Awareness: A Study of Female versus Male Attitudes Towards Tax Fraud in Spain," Chapters,in: Tax Evasion and the Shadow Economy, chapter 4 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Gerxhani, Klarita & Schram, Arthur, 2006. "Tax evasion and income source: A comparative experimental study," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 402-422, June.
    3. Benno Torgler & Friedrich Schneider, 2007. "Shadow Economy, Tax Morale, Governance and Institutional Quality: A Panel Analysis," CREMA Working Paper Series 2007-02, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    4. Torgler, Benno & Schneider, Friedrich, 2009. "The impact of tax morale and institutional quality on the shadow economy," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 228-245, April.
    5. Benno Torgler & James Alm & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, 2005. "Russian Attitudes Toward Paying Taxes – Before, During, and After the Transition (2005)," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0518, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    6. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tax Compliance; Tax Evasion; Tax Morale; Culture;

    JEL classification:

    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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