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Trust Breeds Trust: How Taxpayers are Treated


  • Lars P. Feld
  • Bruno S. Frey


Tax compliance has been studied in economics by analysing the individual decision of a representative person between paying and evading taxes. A neglected aspect of tax compliance is the interaction of taxpayers and tax authorities. The relationship between the two actors can be understood as an implicit or "psychological" contract. Studies on tax evasion in Switzerland show that the more strongly the political participation rights are developed, the more important this contract is, and the higher tax morale is. In this paper, empirical evidence based on a survey of tax authorities of the 26 Swiss states (cantons) is presented, indicating that the differences in the treatment of taxpayers by tax authorities can be explained by differences in political participation rights as well.

Suggested Citation

  • Lars P. Feld & Bruno S. Frey, "undated". "Trust Breeds Trust: How Taxpayers are Treated," IEW - Working Papers 098, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:098

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    References listed on IDEAS

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

    More about this item


    Tax Evasion; Tax Authority; Tax Compliance; Direct Democracy;

    JEL classification:

    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation


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