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Rethinking the Research Paradigms for Analyzing Tax Compliance Behavior

  • James Alm

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Tulane University)

  • Erich Kirchler

    ()

    (Department of Applied Psychology: Work, Education and Economy, University of Vienna)

  • Stephan Muehlbacher

    ()

    (Department of Applied Psychology: Work, Education and Economy, University of Vienna)

  • Katharina Gangl

    ()

    (Department of Applied Psychology: Work, Education and Economy, University of Vienna)

  • Eva Hofmann

    ()

    (Department of Applied Psychology: Work, Education and Economy, University of Vienna)

  • Christoph Kogler

    ()

    (Department of Applied Psychology: Work, Education and Economy, University of Vienna)

  • Maria Pollai

    ()

    (Department of Applied Psychology: Work, Education and Economy, University of Vienna)

In this paper we give our perspective on the different paradigms that have shaped – and seem likely to shape in the future – research in the field of tax compliance behavior. These research paradigms include viewing tax evasion as a decision under risk made by a single taxpayer, as a social dilemma in which there is a tension between individual interests (e.g., cheating on one's taxes) and collective goals (e.g., providing public goods), as a series of decisions made by many different types of taxpayers, and as a psychological contract between tax authorities and taxpayers. We argue that these different paradigms require that particular attention be paid to the main "actors in the field", which involves going beyond a focus on a single taxpayer to consider other taxpayers, tax accountants, the tax authorities, and the government. The ways in which these actors interact in different climates, especially the dynamics of power and trust between the actors, must also be considered. We conclude with a discussion of a framework – the "slippery slope framework" – that attempts to synthesize these different research paradigms. Throughout, we illustrate our arguments by reference to research that focuses especially on the European experience.

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File URL: http://econ.tulane.edu/RePEc/pdf/tul1210.pdf
File Function: First Version, 2012
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Paper provided by Tulane University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1210.

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Length: 15 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:1210
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  1. Srinivasan, T. N., 1973. "Tax evasion: A model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 339-346.
  2. Gerald J. Pruckner & Rupert Sausgruber, 2009. "Honesty on the Streets: A Natural Field Experiment on Newspaper Purchasing," NRN working papers 2009-24, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  3. James Alm & Benno Torgler, 2012. "Do Ethics Matter? Tax Compliance and Morality," Working Papers 1207, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  4. Gerald J. Pruckner & Rupert Sausgruber, 2013. "Honesty On The Streets: A Field Study On Newspaper Purchasing," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 661-679, 06.
  5. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  6. Francesco Guala & Luigi Mittone, 2005. "Experiments in economics: External validity and the robustness of phenomena," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(4), pages 495-515.
  7. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521876742 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. James Alm, 2012. "Measuring, Explaining, and Controlling Tax Evasion: Lessons from Theory, Experiments, and Field Studies," Working Papers 1213, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  9. Kastlunger, Barbara & Kirchler, Erich & Mittone, Luigi & Pitters, Julia, 2009. "Sequences of audits, tax compliance, and taxpaying strategies," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 405-418, June.
  10. 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.
  11. Gneezy, Uri & Rustichini, Aldo, 2000. "A Fine is a Price," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 1-17, January.
  12. Erich Kirchler & Boris Maciejovsky & Martin Weber, 2010. "Framing Effects, Selective Information and Market Behavior: An Experimental Analysis," Chapters, in: Handbook of Behavioral Finance, chapter 1 Edward Elgar.
  13. Ingrid Wahl & Stephan Muehlbacher & Erich Kirchler, 2010. "The Impact of Voting on Tax Payments," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(1), pages 144-158, 02.
  14. Alm, James & Torgler, Benno, 2006. "Culture differences and tax morale in the United States and in Europe," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 224-246, April.
  15. Kirchler, Erich, 1999. "Reactance to taxation: Employers' attitudes towards taxes," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 131-138, July.
  16. Stephan Muehlbacher & Erich Kirchler & Herbert Schwarzenberger, 2011. "Voluntary versus enforced tax compliance: empirical evidence for the “slippery slope” framework," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 89-97, August.
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