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Rewarding Honest Taxpayers? Evidence on the Impact of Rewards from Field Experiments

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  • Lars P. Feld
  • Bruno S. Frey
  • Benno Torgler

Abstract

This paper analyzes the impact of rewards on tax compliance as an additional instrument to take into account. While social psychologists and neuroscientists have emphasized the importance of rewards, the tax compliance literature has strongly disregarded the possibilities of rewards. The use of field experiments presents an alternative ?carrot? strategy for tax policy. Design mechanisms to conduct a field experiments focusing on the impact of rewards on tax compliance are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Lars P. Feld & Bruno S. Frey & Benno Torgler, 2006. "Rewarding Honest Taxpayers? Evidence on the Impact of Rewards from Field Experiments," CREMA Working Paper Series 2006-16, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  • Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2006-16
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2006. "A theory of reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 293-315, February.
    2. Lars P. Feld & Bruno S. Frey, 2002. "Trust breeds trust: How taxpayers are treated," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 87-99, July.
    3. Allingham, Michael G. & Sandmo, Agnar, 1972. "Income tax evasion: a theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 323-338, November.
    4. Feld, Lars P & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2002. "Tax Evasion and Voting: An Experimental Analysis," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 197-222.
    5. Josef Falkinger & Herbert Walther, 1991. "Rewards Versus Penalties: on a New Policy against Tax Evasion," Public Finance Review, , vol. 19(1), pages 67-79, January.
    6. Alm, James & Cronshaw, Mark B & McKee, Michael, 1993. "Tax Compliance with Endogenous Audit Selection Rules," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(1), pages 27-45.
    7. Le Grand, Julian, 2003. "Motivation, Agency, and Public Policy: Of Knights and Knaves, Pawns and Queens," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199266999.
    8. Ernst Fehr & John A. List, 2004. "The Hidden Costs and Returns of Incentives-Trust and Trustworthiness Among CEOs," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(5), pages 743-771, September.
    9. Alm, James & McClelland, Gary H. & Schulze, William D., 1992. "Why do people pay taxes?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 21-38, June.
    10. Slemrod, Joel & Blumenthal, Marsha & Christian, Charles, 2001. "Taxpayer response to an increased probability of audit: evidence from a controlled experiment in Minnesota," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 455-483, March.
    11. Bruno S. Frey, 2004. "Dealing with Terrorism – Stick or Carrot?," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 3435, April.
    12. 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 657-683, December.
    13. Benno Torgler, 2004. "Moral suasion: An alternative tax policy strategy? Evidence from a controlled field experiment in Switzerland," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 235-253, November.
    14. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 489-520.
    15. Blumenthal, Marsha & Christian, Charles W. & Slemrod, Joel, 2001. "Do Normative Appeals Affect Tax Compliance? Evidence from a Controlled Experiment in Minnesota," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 1), pages 125-38, March.
    16. Torgler, Benno, 2003. "Tax Morale and Tax Evasion. Evidence from the United States," Working papers 2003/02, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    17. Pyle, D J, 1991. " The Economics of Taxpayer Compliance," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(2), pages 163-198.
    18. Gary Burtless, 1995. "The Case for Randomized Field Trials in Economic and Policy Research," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 63-84, Spring.
    19. Benno Torgler, 2004. "Moral Suasion: An alternative tax policy strategy? Evidence from a controlled field experiment in Switzerland," CREMA Working Paper Series 2004-01, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    20. Blumenthal, Marsha & Christian, Charles W. & Slemrod, Joel, 2001. "Do Normative Appeals Affect Tax Compliance? Evidence From a Controlled Experiment in Minnesota," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 54(1), pages 125-138, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Nugi Nkwe, 2013. "Tax Payers Attitude and Compliance Behavior among Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Botswana," Business and Management Horizons, Macrothink Institute, vol. 1(1), pages 113-137, June.
    2. Kastlunger, Barbara & Kirchler, Erich & Mittone, Luigi & Pitters, Julia, 2009. "Sequences of audits, tax compliance, and taxpaying strategies," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 405-418, June.
    3. International Monetary Fund, 2016. "Albania; Selected Issues," IMF Staff Country Reports 16/143, International Monetary Fund.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    positive rewards; tax compliance; tax evasion; field experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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