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Tax Evasion in Switzerland: The Roles of Deterrence and Tax Morale

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  • Lars P. Feld
  • Bruno S. Frey

Abstract

The traditional economic approach to tax evasion does not appear to be particularly successful in explaining the extent of tax compliance. We argue instead that a psychological tax contract which establishes a fiscal exchange between the state and the citizens shapes tax compliance to a large extent. In that respect, a case study of Switzerland is useful because the small size of the cantons and their direct democratic political systems procedurally establish a close exchange relationship between taxpayers and tax authorities. In this paper, evidence is discussed on how tax evasion and tax morale in Switzerland evolved over time. In addition, the impact of economic, legal, socio-demographic, psychological and institutional factors on Swiss tax evasion is discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Lars P. Feld & Bruno S. Frey, 2006. "Tax Evasion in Switzerland: The Roles of Deterrence and Tax Morale," CREMA Working Paper Series 2006-13, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  • Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2006-13
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:tpr:restat:v:99:y:2017:i:5:p:793-809 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Hug, Simon & Spörri, Franziska, 2011. "Referendums, trust, and tax evasion," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 120-131, March.
    3. Reto Foellmi & Isabel Z. Martínez, 2017. "Volatile Top Income Shares in Switzerland? Reassessing the Evolution between 1981 and 2010," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 99(5), pages 793-809, December.
    4. Martin Abraham & Kerstin Lorek & Friedemann Richter & Matthias Wrede, 2017. "Collusive tax evasion and social norms," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 24(2), pages 179-197, April.
    5. Leder, Susanne & Mannetti, Lucia & Hölzl, Erik & Kirchler, Erich, 2010. "Regulatory fit effects on perceived fiscal exchange and tax compliance," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 271-277, April.
    6. repec:tur:wpaper:1 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Simone Pellegrino & Massimiliano Piacenza & Gilberto Turati, 2008. "The Runaway Taxpayer or: Is Prior Tax Notice Effective against Scofflaws?," Working papers 01, Former Department of Economics and Public Finance "G. Prato", University of Torino.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tax Evasion; Tax Morale; Deterrence; Responsive Regulation;

    JEL classification:

    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation

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