A Demographic Study of Russian Attitudes Toward Tax Evasion
71 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2016
Date Written: March 9, 2016
A number of studies have examined the relationship between tax collection and various demographic variables. However, until recently most of those studies have involved a United States sample population. The Internal Revenue Service provides demographic data for researchers on a regular basis. The present study goes beyond those studies in several important ways. For one, it uses data on Russia taken from the World Values database. Not much work has been done on the post-communist Russian tax or public finance system. Thus, the present study expands on the very limited research done on Russian public finance.
This study expands on existing literature in at least two other ways as well. For one, it examines how various demographics interact with attitudes toward tax evasion. Secondly, we examine several demographic variables that were not examined in prior studies. The sample had 2,382 usable responses from a wide range of the Russian population.
One of the questions in the World Values database asked whether it would be justifiable to cheat on taxes if it were possible to do so. Respondents were asked to choose a number from 1 to 10 to indicate the extent of their support for tax evasion. This study examines those responses, both overall and through the prism of 6 demographic variables. A trend analysis is also done to determine whether Russian attitudes regarding tax evasion have changed in recent years. A comparison is made with other ethical issues to determine the relative seriousness of tax evasion.
This study found some interesting relationships between attitude toward tax evasion and several demographic variables. Although there is strong opposition to tax evasion in general, the extent of opposition has fluctuated over time. Women were significantly more opposed to tax evasion than were men; older people were significantly more opposed to tax evasion than were younger people; Widows and married individuals were more opposed to tax evasion than were other groups, and single individuals were least opposed. Opposition to tax evasion was less among the higher educated and social classes; opposition to tax evasion fluctuated by region, with the least opposition in Moscow. Tax evasion was not considered very serious in Russia compared to some other acts. The article concludes with a bibliography listing more than 80 tax studies, including links to the studies.
Keywords: tax evasion, ethics, empirical study, demographic variables, gender, age, education level, marital status, social class, region, longitudinal study, Russia, bibliography
JEL Classification: H26,H24,A12,A13,D63,D73,E26,J1,J11,J12,J14,J16,K14,K34,K42,M41,O17,O52,O53,P2,P32,P37
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