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Tax Compliance as the Result of a Psychological Tax Contract: The Role of Incentives and Responsive Regulation

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  • Lars P. Feld
  • Bruno S. Frey

Abstract

In this paper, we develop the concept of a psychological tax contract that goes beyond the traditional deterrence model and explains tax morale as a complicated interaction between taxpayers and the government. Based on crowding theory, the impact of deterrence and rewards on tax morale is discussed. As a contractual relationship implies duties and rights for each contract partner, sticking to the fiscal exchange paradigm between citizens and the state increases tax compliance. Citizens are willing to honestly declare income even if they do not receive a full public good equivalent to their tax payments as long as the political process is perceived to be fair and legitimate. At the procedural level, a friendly treatment of taxpayers by the tax office in auditing processes increases tax compliance.

Suggested Citation

  • Lars P. Feld & Bruno S. Frey, 2006. "Tax Compliance as the Result of a Psychological Tax Contract: The Role of Incentives and Responsive Regulation," IEW - Working Papers 287, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:287
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    Cited by:

    1. Lars P. Feld & Bruno S. Frey, 2006. "Tax Evasion in Switzerland: The Roles of Deterrence and Tax Morale," IEW - Working Papers 284, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    2. Friedrich Heinemann & Martin Kocher, 2013. "Tax compliance under tax regime changes," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 20(2), pages 225-246, April.
    3. Bruno Frey, 2010. "Lin Ostrom’s Contribution to Economics: A Personal Evaluation," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 143(3), pages 303-308, June.
    4. Friedrich G. Schneider, 2006. "Shadow Economies and Corruption all over the World: What do we really know?," Economics working papers 2006-17, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    5. James, Simon, 2010. "Combining the contributions of behavioral economics and other social sciences in understanding taxation and tax reform," MPRA Paper 26289, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Jochen Hundsdoerfer & Christina Sichtmann, 2009. "The importance of taxes in entrepreneurial decisions: an analysis of practicing physicians’ behavior," Review of Managerial Science, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 19-40, March.
    7. Oluwafadekemi S. Areo & Obindah Gershon & Evans Osabuohien, 2020. "Improved Public Services and Tax Compliance of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in Nigeria: A Generalised Ordered Logistic Regression," Asian Economic and Financial Review, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 10(7), pages 833-860, July.
    8. Douglas A. Hibbs, Jr. & Violeta Piculescu, 2008. "Tax Toleration and Tax Compliance: How Government Affects the Propensity of Firms to Enter the Unofficial Economy," Discussion Papers 7_2008, D.E.S. (Department of Economic Studies), University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.
    9. Friedrich Schneider, 2013. "Size and Progression of the Shadow Economies of Turkey and Other OECD Countries from 2003 to 2013; Some New Facts," Ekonomi-tek - International Economics Journal, Turkish Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 83-116, May.
    10. James, Simon & Edwards, Alison, 2010. "An annotated bibliography of tax compliance and tax compliance costs," MPRA Paper 26106, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tax Compliance; Positive and Negative Incentives; Responsive Regulation;
    All these keywords.

    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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