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Appeals to Social Norms and Taxpayer Compliance

Author

Listed:
  • James Alm

    (Tulane University)

  • William D. Schulze

    (Cornell University)

  • Carrie Von Bose

    (Fors Marsh Group)

  • Jubo Yan

    (Cornell University)

Abstract

We use laboratory experiments to examine the impact of appeals to social norms on the compliance decisions of individuals. We test the effects of two main types of social norms: "descriptive norms", or the type of behavior that is typical or most frequently enacted, and "injunctive norms", or the type of behavior that "constitutes morally approved and disapproved conduct". In addition, for injunctive norms we introduce approval-framed and disapprovalframed injunctive norm messages. Our results indicate that normative appeals generally have a modest and positive impact on tax compliance, if not always statistically significant. The magnitude of both approval- and disapproval-framed injunctive norm messages is an increase of around 2 percent in reported taxes.

Suggested Citation

  • James Alm & William D. Schulze & Carrie Von Bose & Jubo Yan, 2019. "Appeals to Social Norms and Taxpayer Compliance," Working Papers 1902, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:1902
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

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    3. James Alm & Matthias Kasper, 2020. "Laboratory Experiments," Working Papers 2008, Tulane University, Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tax compliance; social norms; experimental economics.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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