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Media Bias and Tax Compliance: Experimental Evidence

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  • Fišar, Miloš

    (Masaryk University)

  • Reggiani, Tommaso G.

    (Cardiff University)

  • Sabatini, Fabio

    (Sapienza University of Rome)

  • Špalek, Jiří

    (Masaryk University)

Abstract

We study the impact of media bias on tax compliance. Through a framed laboratory experiment, we assess how the exposure to biased news about government action affects compliance in a repeated taxation game. Subjects treated with positive news are significantly more compliant than the control group. The exposure to negative news, instead, does not prompt any significant reaction in respect to the neutral condition, suggesting that participants perceive the media negativity bias in the selection and tonality of news as the norm rather than the exception. Overall, our results suggest that biased news act as a constant source of psychological priming and play a vital role in taxpayers' compliance decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Fišar, Miloš & Reggiani, Tommaso G. & Sabatini, Fabio & Špalek, Jiří, 2020. "Media Bias and Tax Compliance: Experimental Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 12938, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp12938
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    laboratory experiment; taxation game; media bias; tax compliance;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • 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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