Stimulating taxpayer Morality: Eliciting Taxpayer Preferences Increases Tax Compliance

Lamberton, Cait Poynor, De Neve, Jan-Emmanuel and Norton, Michael I. Stimulating taxpayer Morality: Eliciting Taxpayer Preferences Increases Tax Compliance. Journal of Consumer Psychology. (Accepted)

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Decisions about paying taxes represent one of the most common moral quandaries faced by citizens. In the present research, we argue that taxpayer compliance can be raised by increasing “voice”: allowing taxpayers to express non-binding preferences about the way their taxes are used. We first test for effects of preference expression on tax compliance with a tax in a laboratory setting. Here, we find that allowing participants to express non-binding preferences over tax spending priorities leads to a 16% increase in compliance. A follow-up online study tests this treatment with a simulation of paying US federal taxes. Allowing taxpayers to express their preferences on the distribution of government spending reduces the stated take-up rate of a questionable tax loophole by 15%. A third experiment shows that this effect only occurs when taxpayers have voice in spending on preferred tax categories; allocating tax dollars across disliked spending categories increased neither feelings of voice nor likelihood of payment.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Strategy & innovation
Subject(s): Strategy
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2017 16:17
Last Modified: 04 Dec 2017 16:17
Funders: N/A

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