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Macroeconomic implications of the dynamics between power and trust: a theoretical formalisation of the ‘slippery slope’ framework

  • Gaetano Lisi

This paper aims to provide a thorough theoretical formalisation of the ‘slippery slope’ framework in order to highlight the effects and the macroeconomic implications of the dynamics between power and trust. In particular, the proposed model is able to differentiate between coercive and legitimate power, thus elucidating the dynamics between power and trust and its influence on tax climate and tax compliance. Also, by introducing trust in tax authorities as a determinant of tax compliance, the decision to under-report income is no longer based on expected profits maximisation and thus the tax compliance problem can not be explained by a pure economic approach. The main results of the model are the following: (i) trust-building actions are better than deterring measures for overall tax compliance, since they establish a cooperative tax climate and lead to a legitimate power, while too much power corrodes trust; (ii) in a society where trust is maximised and tax authority benefits from a legitimate power, both employment and economic growth are higher since tax evasion and shadow economy are lower and the level of taxation can be reduced.

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Paper provided by Economics and Econometrics Research Institute (EERI), Brussels in its series EERI Research Paper Series with number EERI_RP_2012_21.

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Date of creation: 21 Nov 2012
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Handle: RePEc:eei:rpaper:eeri_rp_2012_21
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  1. Benno Torgler, 2003. "Tax Morale, Rule-Governed Behaviour and Trust," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 119-140, June.
  2. Stephan Muehlbacher & Erich Kirchler, 2010. "Tax Compliance by Trust and Power of Authorities," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(4), pages 607-610.
  3. James Alm & Benno Torgler, 2012. "Do Ethics Matter? Tax Compliance and Morality," Working Papers 1207, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  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. Dale T. Mortensen, 2005. "Alfred Marshall Lecture: Growth, Unemployment, and Labor Market Policy," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 236-258, 04/05.
  6. Gaetano Lisi, 2012. "Unemployment, tax evasion and the slippery slope framework," International Review of Economics, Springer, vol. 59(3), pages 297-302, September.
  7. 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.
  8. Barbara Petrongolo & Christopher Pissarides, 2000. "Looking into the black box: a survey of the matching function," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2122, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  9. Wenzel, Michael, 2005. "Motivation or rationalisation? Causal relations between ethics, norms and tax compliance," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 491-508, August.
  10. Park, Chang-Gyun & Hyun, Jin Kwon, 2003. "Examining the determinants of tax compliance by experimental data: a case of Korea," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 25(8), pages 673-684, November.
  11. Benno Torgler, 2007. "Tax Compliance and Tax Morale," Books, Edward Elgar, number 4096.
  12. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521876742 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Halla Martin, 2012. "Tax Morale and Compliance Behavior: First Evidence on a Causal Link," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-27, April.
  14. Sandmo, Agnar, 2005. "The Theory of Tax Evasion: A Retrospective View," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 58(4), pages 643-63, December.
  15. 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.
  16. Christoph A. Schaltegger & Benno Torgler, 2005. "Trust and Fiscal Performance: A Panel Analysis with Swiss Data," CREMA Working Paper Series 2005-05, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  17. Joel Slemrod, 2007. "Cheating Ourselves: The Economics of Tax Evasion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 25-48, Winter.
  18. Lars P. Feld & Bruno S. Frey, 2000. "Trust Breeds Trust: How Taxpayers are Treated," CESifo Working Paper Series 322, CESifo Group Munich.
  19. Juan Molero & Francesc Pujol, 2012. "Walking Inside the Potential Tax Evader’s Mind: Tax Morale Does Matter," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 105(2), pages 151-162, January.
  20. Andreoni, J. & Erard, B. & Feinstein, J., 1996. "Tax Compliance," Working papers 9610r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  21. Cummings, Ronald G. & Martinez-Vazquez, Jorge & McKee, Michael & Torgler, Benno, 2009. "Tax morale affects tax compliance: Evidence from surveys and an artefactual field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 447-457, June.
  22. Gaetano Lisi, 2012. "Testing the slippery slope framework," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(2), pages 1369-1377.
  23. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, June.
  24. Hammar, Henrik & Jagers, Sverker C. & Nordblom, Katarina, 2009. "Perceived tax evasion and the importance of trust," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 238-245, March.
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