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Is Tax Compliance a Social Norm? A Field Experiment

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  • Pietro Battiston
  • Simona Gamba

Abstract

We study the eff ect of social pressure on tax compliance, focusing on the compliance of shop sellers to the legal obligation of releasing tax receipts for each sale. We carry out a fi eld experiment on bakeries in Italy, where a strong gap exists between the legal obligation and the actual behavior of sellers. Social pressure is manipulated by means of an explicit request for a receipt when not released. We find that a single request for a receipt causes a 17 per cent rise in the probability of a receipt being released for a sale occurring shortly thereafter. This provides evidence of a social scal multiplier: on average, a single request for a receipt causes 2.38 additional receipts being released overall.

Suggested Citation

  • Pietro Battiston & Simona Gamba, 2013. "Is Tax Compliance a Social Norm? A Field Experiment," Working Papers 249, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:249
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    Cited by:

    1. Pietro Battiston & Denvil Duncan & Simona Gamba & Alessandro Santoro, 2016. "The Italian Blitz: a natural experiment on audit publicity and tax compliance," FBK-IRVAPP Working Papers 2016-10, Research Institute for the Evaluation of Public Policies (IRVAPP), Bruno Kessler Foundation.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tax evasion; field experiments; social norms; social pressure;

    JEL classification:

    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm
    • K34 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Tax Law
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy

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