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Russian Attitudes Toward Paying Taxes ? Before, During, and After the Transition

  • James Alm
  • Jorge Martinez-Vazquez
  • Benno Torgler

This paper examines citizens? attitudes toward paying taxes ? what is sometimes termed their ?tax morale?, or the intrinsic motivation to pay taxes ? focusing on the experience of individuals in the Russian Federation. A unique aspect of our analysis is our ability to study tax morale before (1991), during (1995), and shortly after (1999) the transition of the Russian economy from a centrally planned economy to one based on market reliance. Our empirical analysis uses data from the World Values Survey and the European Values Survey. The results show decay in tax morale in the first four years of the transition from 1991 to 1995, and a small recovery in 1999. These results are consistent with the relevance of social norms in tax compliance, where the widespread perception of tax evasion and of a corrupt and inefficient state led initially to a decline of tax morale. However, the results also suggest that the restoration of a higher level of trust in the state, after some progress in the transition to a market economy, positively influenced tax morale. Using disaggregated data for Russian regions, we also find significant regional differences in tax morale, reflecting the degree of trust different regions have toward Moscow?s institutions and policies.

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Paper provided by Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA) in its series CREMA Working Paper Series with number 2005-27.

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Date of creation: Sep 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2005-27
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  10. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, 2003. "Asymmetric Federalism in Russia: Cure or Poison?," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0304, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  11. J. Stiglitz, 1999. "Whither Reform? Ten Years of the Transition," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 7.
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  13. 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.
  14. Polishchuk, Leonid, 1996. "Russian Federalism: Economic Reform and Political Behavior," Working Papers 972, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
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  17. Alm, James & McClelland, Gary H & Schulze, William D, 1999. "Changing the Social Norm of Tax Compliance by Voting," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 141-71.
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  19. Benno Torgler, 2003. "Tax Morale in Latin America," Working papers 2003/03, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
  20. Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-88, November.
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  23. Benno Torgler, 2002. "Does Culture Matter? Tax Morale in East-West-German Comparison," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 59(4), pages 504-, December.
  24. Yingyi Qian & Barry R. Weingast, 1996. "China's transition to markets: market-preserving federalism, chinese style," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(2), pages 149-185.
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