Generational Difference in Perception of Tax Equity and Attitudes Towards Compliance

Posted: 3 Mar 2014  

Susan Jurney

University of Alabama

Tim Rupert

Northeastern University - Accounting Group

Martha L. Wartick

University of Northern Iowa

Date Written: March 3, 2014


Generational theory research suggests that the arrival of the Millennial generation into adulthood will have significant effects on society because of their differing values and attitudes. We examine whether this generation has differing perceptions of tax fairness and equity as well as their attitudes towards tax compliance as compared to other generations by administering an instrument to a sample of 303 taxpayers, distributed approximately equally across three generational groups: Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials. Each group answered a series of questions related to vertical equity, horizontal equity, and exchange equity. The results suggest that there are significant differences in the viewpoint toward vertical equity and progressive taxation among the three generations. More specifically, the Millennial generation was less likely to recommend progressive taxation than the other two generations. In addition, there were significant differences between the groups on an exchange equity question as well. However, in this situation, it was the Baby Boomers that were significantly different from the other two generations. The results also suggest that the Millennials have attitudes that are more accepting of noncompliance than both the Generation X participants and the Baby Boomer participants. However, a significant difference does not exist between the Baby Boomer participants and Generation X participants and their attitudes towards compliance.

Suggested Citation

Jurney, Susan and Rupert, Tim and Wartick, Martha L., Generational Difference in Perception of Tax Equity and Attitudes Towards Compliance (March 3, 2014). 2014 American Taxation Association Midyear Meeting. Available at SSRN:

Susan Jurney (Contact Author)

University of Alabama ( email )

101 Paul W. Bryant Dr.
Box 870382
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
United States

Tim Rupert

Northeastern University - Accounting Group ( email )

360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
United States

Marty Wartick

University of Northern Iowa ( email )

College of Business Administration Department of Accounting
Cedar Fall, IA 50614-0127
319-273-7754 (Phone)
319-273-2922 (Fax)

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