Tax Evasion and Business Ethics: A Comparative Study of Guatemala and the USA
Robert W. McGee
Journal of Accounting, Ethics & Public Policy
Francisco Marroquin University - Department of Economics
In 1944, Martin Crowe, a Catholic priest, wrote a doctoral dissertation titled The Moral Obligation of Paying Just Taxes. His dissertation summarized and analyzed 500 years of theological and philosophical debate on this topic, much of which took place in Latin. Since Crowe's dissertation, not much has been written on the topic of tax evasion from the perspective of business ethics.
The present paper summarizes, updates and expands on Crowe's work. An 18-statement survey was distributed to graduate and upper division undergraduate business and law students at Universidad Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala. This target population was selected because these students will become the future opinion leaders and political leaders of Guatemala. Each statement is graded on a 7-point Likert scale. The responses to each statement were tallied and ranked to determine under which circumstances tax evasion might be considered most or least ethical. The same survey instrument was distributed to business students at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, USA.
The results of the survey reveal that the majority of participants fall into the same category, which is that tax evasion may be ethical under certain circumstances. Comparisons are made between the responses given by business and law students and between male and female students and between the Guatemalan and USA sample populations.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 56
Keywords: tax evasion, evade, ethics, Guatemala, USA, comparative study, public finance
JEL Classification: H26, E62, D6, J16, J1, K34, K42, M14, M4, P35
Date posted: March 28, 2006
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