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Combining the contributions of behavioral economics and other social sciences in understanding taxation and tax reform

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  • James, Simon

Abstract

This paper extends previous work presented at the SABE/IAREP conference at St Mary’s University, Halifax (James, 2009). In the earlier paper it was shown that conventional economic theory is used to make the case for tax reform but does not always adequately incorporate all the relevant factors. However, an approach based on behavioral economics can make the difference between success and failure. In this paper the contributions of other social sciences are also included. Taxation is a particularly appropriate subject to explore the integration of the social sciences since they have all devoted considerable attention to it. It can be seen that different social sciences suggest a range of variables that might be taken into account in addition to those included in mainstream economics. Other social sciences also offer different methodological approaches and consider the possibility of different outcomes of the fiscal process. The paper concludes that it is not easy to integrate the social sciences in a single approach to the study of tax and tax policy. There may also be the risk of encouraging inappropriate integration - researchers operating outside their expertise can produce results that are not helpful. However, comparing the contribution of behavioral economics with those of the social sciences more generally, it can be seen that behavioral economics can offer a framework within which these areas can be examined. Indeed, it may be a useful channel to add the contributions of other social sciences to mainstream economic research.

Suggested Citation

  • James, Simon, 2010. "Combining the contributions of behavioral economics and other social sciences in understanding taxation and tax reform," MPRA Paper 26289, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:26289
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/26289/1/MPRA_paper_26289.pdf
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    6. Benno Torgler, 2007. "Tax Compliance and Tax Morale," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 4096, April.
    7. James, Simon & Alley, Clinton, 2008. "Successful tax reform: the experience of value added tax in the United Kingdom and goods and services tax in New Zealand," MPRA Paper 19858, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    Cited by:

    1. Roberto Dell'Anno & Vincenzo Maria De Rosa, 2013. "The Relevance of the Theory of Fiscal Illusion. The Case of the Italian Tax System," HISTORY OF ECONOMIC THOUGHT AND POLICY, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2013(2), pages 63-92.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    behavioral economics; social sciences; taxation; tax reform;

    JEL classification:

    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents

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