A Spoonful of Choice: How Allocation Increases Satisfaction with Tax Payments
Cait Poynor Lamberton
University of Pittsburgh - Katz Graduate School of Business
June 5, 2012
Forthcoming (2013), Journal of Public Policy and Marketing
How can tax payment be made more satisfying? This paper argues that the low volition and collective nature of tax-funded benefits as primary causes of low satisfaction with tax payment. Three studies then suggest that providing individuals with the opportunity to allocate a small portion (in the present research, 10%) of their payment across budgets provided by the billing party both introduces an element of volition into the payment process and increases the perceived benefit associated with tax payment. As a result, taxpayers are significantly more satisfied with paying taxes, despite the fact that their payment amount remains completely unchanged. In addition to enhancing taxpayer satisfaction, an allocation program, if well-implemented, could also provide some hope for correcting existing lack of voice, address disconnects between spending and taxpayers’ priorities, and increase civic engagement in general.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 50
Keywords: taxes, satisfaction, allocation, tax choice, psychology, reactance
Date posted: June 8, 2012 ; Last revised: June 18, 2012
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