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On the External Validity of Laboratory Tax Compliance Experiments

Author

Listed:
  • James Alm

    () (Department of Economics, Tulane University)

  • Kim M. Bloomquist

    () (Office of Research, U.S. Internal Revenue Service)

  • Michael McKee

    () (Department of Economics, Appalachian State University)

Abstract

An essential issue for laboratory experiments to inform policy debates is the "external validity" of the experimental results; that is, does behavior in the laboratory apply to behavior that occurs in the naturally occurring world? We examine this issue of external validity in the specific context of laboratory experiments on tax compliance, using two different types of evidence. We find that the behavioral patterns of subjects in the laboratory conform to that of individuals making a similar decision in naturally occurring settings. We also find that the behavioral responses of students are largely the same as non-students in identical experiments.

Suggested Citation

  • James Alm & Kim M. Bloomquist & Michael McKee, 2015. "On the External Validity of Laboratory Tax Compliance Experiments," Working Papers 1512, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:1512
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Zhixin Dai & Fabio Galeotti & Marie Claire Villeval, 2016. "Cheating in the Lab Predicts Fraud in the Field An Experiment in Public Transportations," Working Papers halshs-01265696, HAL.
    2. Alm, James & Bruner, David M. & McKee, Michael, 2016. "Honesty or dishonesty of taxpayer communications in an enforcement regime," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 85-96.
    3. Blumenthal, Marsha & Kalambokidis, Laura & Turk, Alex, 2012. "Subsidizing Charitable Contributions With a Match Instead of a Deduction: What Happens to Donations and Compliance?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 65(1), pages 91-116, March.
    4. James Alm & Kim M. Bloomquist & Michael McKee, 2017. "When You Know Your Neighbour Pays Taxes: Information, Peer Effects and Tax Compliance," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 38, pages 587-613, December.
    5. repec:kap:enreec:v:68:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s10640-017-0133-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:kap:itaxpf:v:25:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10797-017-9448-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Stefano Carattini & Andrea Baranzini & Philippe Thalmann & Frédéric Varone & Frank Vöhringer, 2017. "Green Taxes in a Post-Paris World: Are Millions of Nays Inevitable?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 68(1), pages 97-128, September.
    8. Christoph Bühren & Thorben C. Kundt, 2013. "Worker or Shirker – Who Evades More Taxes? A Real Effort Experiment," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201326, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    9. Georgia Kaplanoglou & Vassilis T. Rapanos & Nikolaos Daskalakis, 2016. "Tax compliance behaviour during the crisis: the case of Greek SMEs," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 405-444, December.
    10. James Alm, 2012. "Measuring, explaining, and controlling tax evasion: lessons from theory, experiments, and field studies," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(1), pages 54-77, February.
    11. James Alm & Kim M. Bloomquist & Michael McKee, 2017. "When You Know Your Neighbour Pays Taxes: Information, Peer Effects and Tax Compliance," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 38, pages 587-613, December.
    12. Di Bartolomeo Giovanni & Stefano Papa, 2017. "The effects of physical activity on social interactions: The case of trust and trustworthiness," wp.comunite 00134, Department of Communication, University of Teramo.
    13. Jan-Emmanuel De Neve & Cait Lamberton & Michael I. Norton, 2014. "Eliciting Taxpayer Preferences Increases Tax Compliance," CEP Discussion Papers dp1270, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    14. 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.
    15. Andrea Baranzini & Nicolas Borzykowski & Stefano Carattini, 2016. "Carbon offsets out of the woods? The acceptability of domestic vs. international reforestation programmes," GRI Working Papers 257, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    16. Thunström, Linda & Cherry, Todd L. & McEvoy, David M. & Shogren, Jason F., 2016. "Endogenous context in a dictator game," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 117-120.
    17. Arbex, Marcelo & 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, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    18. Baranzini, Andrea & Borzykowski, Nicolas & Carattini, Stefano, 2018. "Carbon offsets out of the woods? Acceptability of domestic vs. international reforestation programmes in the lab," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 87732, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    19. McKee, Michael & Siladke, Caleb & Vossler, Christian A., 2011. "Behavioral dynamics of tax compliance under an information services initiative," MPRA Paper 38865, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Joel Slemrod & Caroline Weber, 2012. "Evidence of the invisible: toward a credibility revolution in the empirical analysis of tax evasion and the informal economy," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(1), pages 25-53, February.
    21. Sanjit Dhami, 2017. "Human Ethics and Virtues: Rethinking the Homo-Economicus Model," CESifo Working Paper Series 6836, CESifo Group Munich.
    22. repec:eee:ecolec:v:149:y:2018:i:c:p:74-79 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Vossler, Christian A. & McKee, Michael & Jones, Michael, 2011. "Some effects of tax information services reliability and availability on tax reporting behavior," MPRA Paper 38870, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    24. Kogler, Christoph & Mittone, Luigi & Kirchler, Erich, 2016. "Delayed feedback on tax audits affects compliance and fairness perceptions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 81-87.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    marriage; experimental methods; external validity; tax compliance;

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments

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