Motivating Compliance Behavior Among Offenders: Procedural Justice or Deterrence?
Criminal Justice and Behavior, Forthcoming
18 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2015 Last revised: 31 Aug 2015
Date Written: August 28, 2015
Research shows that procedural justice can motivate compliance behavior through the mediating influence of either legitimacy or social identity. Yet few studies examine the relative importance of these two mediators in the same analysis. Using three waves of longitudinal survey data collected from 359 tax offenders we examine: (a) whether procedural justice is important to offenders’ decisions to comply with their future tax obligations over and above fear of sanctions; and (b) whether legitimacy and social identity processes mediate the relationship between procedural justice and compliance. Our results reveal that: (1) legitimacy mediates the effect of procedural justice on compliance; (2) social identity mediates the procedural justice/compliance relationship; (3) identity seems to matter slightly more than perceptions of legitimacy when predicting tax compliance; (4) perceived risk of sanction plays a small but counterproductive role in predicting tax compliance. We conclude that normative concerns dominate taxpayers’ compliance decisions. Our findings have implications for understanding compliance behavior, but also for conceptualizing why and how procedural justice can motivate such behavior.
Keywords: compliance, legitimacy, procedural justice, deterrence, policing, tax
JEL Classification: K41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation