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A psychometric investigation of the personality traits underlying individual tax morale

Author

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  • Nicolas Jacquemet

    () (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)

  • Stephane Luchini

    () (AMSE - Aix-Marseille Sciences Economiques - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - ECM - École Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Antoine Malézieux

    () (BETA - Bureau d'Économie Théorique et Appliquée - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UL - Université de Lorraine - UNISTRA - Université de Strasbourg, University of Exeter Business School - University of Exeter Business School)

  • Jason Shogren

    () (Departement Economy and Finance, University of Wyoming - UW - University of Wyoming)

Abstract

Why do people pay taxes? Rational choice theory has fallen short in answering this question. Another explanation, called "tax morale", has been promoted. Tax morale captures the behavioral idea that non-monetary preferences (like norm-submission, moral emotions and moral judgments) might be better determinants of tax compliance than monetary trade-offs. Herein we report on two lab experiments designed to assess whether norm-submission, moral emotions (e.g., affective empathy, cognitive empathy, propensity to feel guilt and shame) or moral judgments (e.g., ethics principles, integrity, and moralization of everyday life) can help explain compliance behavior. Although we find statistically significant correlations of tax compliance behavior with empathy and shame, the economic significance of these correlations are low more than 80% of the variability in compliance remains unexplained. These results suggest that tax authorities should focus on the institutional context, rather than individual preference characteristics, to handle tax evasion.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolas Jacquemet & Stephane Luchini & Antoine Malézieux & Jason Shogren, 2019. "A psychometric investigation of the personality traits underlying individual tax morale," Working Papers halshs-02008071, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-02008071
    DOI: 10.1515/bejeap-2018-0149
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02008071
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    Cited by:

    1. Jacquemet, N. & Luchini, S. & Malézieux, A. & Shogren, J.F., 2020. "Who’ll stop lying under oath? Empirical evidence from tax evasion games," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 124(C).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    psychometrics; morality; personality traits; tax evasion; tax morale;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household

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