IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Is Tax Compliance a Social Norm? A Field Experiment

  • Pietro Battiston
  • Simona Gamba

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Our checks indicate that this address may not be valid because: 403 Forbidden ( The server denied the specified Uniform Resource Locator (URL). Contact the server administrator. ). If this is indeed the case, please notify (Roberto Reale)

File Function: First version, 2013
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 249.

in new window

Length: 29
Date of creation: Jul 2013
Date of revision: Jul 2013
Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:249
Contact details of provider: Postal: Piazza Ateneo Nuovo, 1 Milano 20126
Phone: +39 02 6448 3089
Fax: +39 02 6448 3085
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Brian Erard & Jonathan S. Feinstein, 1994. "Honesty and Evasion in the Tax Compliance Game," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(1), pages 1-19, Spring.
  2. Galbiati, Roberto & Zanella, Giulio, 2012. "The tax evasion social multiplier: Evidence from Italy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(5), pages 485-494.
  3. Bosco, Luigi & Mittone, Luigi, 1997. "Tax Evasion and Moral Constraints: Some Experimental Evidence," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(3), pages 297-324.
  4. Halla, Martin, 2010. "Tax Morale and Compliance Behavior: First Evidence on a Causal Link," IZA Discussion Papers 4918, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Elffers, Henk & Weigel, Russell H. & Hessing, Dick J., 1987. "The consequences of different strategies for measuring tax evasion behavior," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 311-337, September.
  6. Fehr, Ernst & Gachter, Simon, 1998. "Reciprocity and economics: The economic implications of Homo Reciprocans1," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 845-859, May.
  7. 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.
  8. Kolm, Serge-Christophe, 1973. "A note on optimum tax evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 265-270, July.
  9. Ronald G. Cummings & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Michael McKee & Benno Torgler, 2005. "Effects of Tax Morale on Tax Compliance: Experimental and Survey Evidence," CREMA Working Paper Series 2005-29, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  10. 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 657-83, December.
  11. 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.
  12. Ronald G. Cummings & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Michael McKee, 2001. "Cross Cultural Comparisions of Tax Compliance Behavior," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0103, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  13. Charles Christian & Joel Slemrod & Marsha Blumenthal, 2001. "Taxpayer response to an increased probability of audit: Evidence from a controlled experiment in minnesota," Natural Field Experiments 00332, The Field Experiments Website.
  14. Warneryd, Karl-Erik & Walerud, Bengt, 1982. "Taxes and economic behavior: Some interview data on tax evasion in Sweden," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 187-211, September.
  15. Bordignon, Massimo, 1993. "A fairness approach to income tax evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 345-362, October.
  16. repec:att:wimass:9610 is not listed on IDEAS
  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. Groenland, Edward A. G. & van Veldhoven, Gery M., 1983. "Tax evasion behavior: A psychological framework," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 129-144, June.
  19. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521876742 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Singh, Balbir, 1973. "Making honesty the best policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 257-263, July.
  21. Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Martin B. Knudsen & Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Søren Pedersen & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Unwilling or Unable to Cheat? Evidence From a Tax Audit Experiment in Denmark," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(3), pages 651-692, 05.
  22. Weigel, Russell H. & Hessing, Dick J. & Elffers, Henk, 1987. "Tax evasion research: A critical appraisal and theoretical model," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 215-235, June.
  23. Wenzel, Michael, 2004. "An analysis of norm processes in tax compliance," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 213-228, April.
  24. Andreoni, J. & Erard, B. & Feinstein, J., 1996. "Tax Compliance," Working papers 9610r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:249. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roberto Reale)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.