On the External Validity of Laboratory Tax Compliance Experiments

17 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2015

See all articles by James Alm

James Alm

Tulane University

Kim Bloomquist

Office of Research Analysis and Statistics, IRS, Department of Treasury

Michael McKee

Appalachian State University - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 2015

Abstract

An essential issue for laboratory experiments to inform policy debates is the “external validity” of the experimental results; that is, does behavior in the laboratory apply to behavior that occurs in the naturally occurring world? We examine this issue of external validity in the specific context of laboratory experiments on tax compliance, using two different types of evidence. We find that the behavioral patterns of subjects in the laboratory conform to those of individuals making a similar decision in naturally occurring settings. We also find that the behavioral responses of students are largely the same as those of nonstudents in identical experiments.

JEL Classification: C9, H0, H3

Suggested Citation

Alm, James and Bloomquist, Kim and McKee, Michael, On the External Validity of Laboratory Tax Compliance Experiments (April 2015). Economic Inquiry, Vol. 53, Issue 2, pp. 1170-1186, 2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2561691 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecin.12196

James Alm (Contact Author)

Tulane University ( email )

United States
5048628344 (Phone)

Kim Bloomquist

Office of Research Analysis and Statistics, IRS, Department of Treasury ( email )

1111 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20224
United States

Michael McKee

Appalachian State University - Department of Economics ( email )

Boone, NC 28608
United States

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