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Social Esteem versus Social Stigma: the role of anonymity in an income reporting game

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  • Sandro Casal

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  • Luigi Mittone

    ()

Abstract

When the phenomenon of tax evasion is discussed, both scholars and authorities agree on the fact that, although essential, classical enforcements are not enough to ensure tax compliance: some other forms of incentives must be adopted. The paper�s aim is to experimentally test the role of different non- monetary incentives for tax compliance: participants have been treated with different experimental conditions, which differ in the role played by anonymity. Indeed, subjects have been informed on the possibility of revealing their identity and their choices through the publication of their pictures, as a consequence of the result of the auditing process. As expected, anonymity plays an important role in the decision to pay taxes; in addition, we find that negative non-monetary incentive increases tax compliance more effectively than positive non-monetary incentive. We find also that the effect of these non-monetary incentives is mitigated, when too many information are made available. Finally, results show that, when evasion is made public, tax-dodgers are willing to pay in order to keep secret their cheating behavior and avoid public shame.

Suggested Citation

  • Sandro Casal & Luigi Mittone, 2014. "Social Esteem versus Social Stigma: the role of anonymity in an income reporting game," CEEL Working Papers 1401, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
  • Handle: RePEc:trn:utwpce:1401
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    Cited by:

    1. James Alm, 2019. "What Motivates Tax Compliance?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(2), pages 353-388, April.
    2. Christian Schitter & Jürgen Fleiß & Stefan Palan, 2017. "To claim or not to claim: Anonymity, reciprocal externalities and honesty," Working Paper Series, Social and Economic Sciences 2017-01, Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences, Karl-Franzens-University Graz.
    3. Lotta Björklund Larsen & Rubina Arakelyan & Teimuraz Gogsadze & Mariam Katsadze & Sophiko Skhirtladze & Nino Muench, 2019. "The Georgian Tax Lottery of 2012. A Multi-Methodological Assessment," Working Papers 009-19 JEL Codes: H26, K4, International School of Economics at TSU, Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia.
    4. James Alm & Matthias Kasper, 2020. "Laboratory Experiments," Working Papers 2008, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    5. Holm, Hakan J. & Samahita, Margaret, 2018. "Curating social image: Experimental evidence on the value of actions and selfies," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 83-104.
    6. Alm, James & Bernasconi, Michele & Laury, Susan & Lee, Daniel J. & Wallace, Sally, 2017. "Culture, compliance, and confidentiality: Taxpayer behavior in the United States and Italy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 176-196.
    7. Arbex, Marcelo Aarestru & Carré, Justin M. & Geniole, Shawn N. & Mattos, Enlinson, 2018. "Tax evasion, testosterone and personality traits," Textos para discussão 466, FGV EESP - Escola de Economia de São Paulo, Fundação Getulio Vargas (Brazil).
    8. Werner, Peter & Riedl, Arno, 2018. "The role of experiments for policy design," Research Memorandum 022, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    9. 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).
    10. Guerra, Alice & Harrington, Brooke, 2018. "Attitude–behavior consistency in tax compliance: A cross-national comparison," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 184-205.
    11. Kandul, Serhiy & Uhl, Matthias, 2016. "Inspirations or incitements? Ethical mind-sets and the effect of moral examples," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 146-153.
    12. Schitter, Christian & Fleiß, Jürgen & Palan, Stefan, 2019. "To claim or not to claim: Anonymity, symmetric externalities and honesty," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 13-36.
    13. Marcelo Arbex & Justin M. Carre & Shawn N. Geniole & Enlinson Mattos, 2018. "Testosterone, personality traits and tax evasion," Working Papers 1801, University of Windsor, Department of Economics.
    14. Tsikas, Stefanos A. & Wagener, Andreas, 2018. "Bringing Tax Avoiders to Light: Moral Framing and Shaming in a Public Goods Experiment," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-633, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.

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    Keywords

    Tax Evasion; Non-monetary incentives; Anonymity; Experimental Economics;

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