Tax Morale and the Role of Social Norms and Reciprocity. Evidence from a Randomized Survey Experiment

38 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2017

See all articles by Philipp Doerrenberg

Philipp Doerrenberg

ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Andreas Peichl

ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research; University of Mannheim - School of Economics (VWL); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; University of Essex - Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER)

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Date Written: 2017

Abstract

We present the first randomized survey experiment in the context of tax compliance to assess the role of social norms and reciprocity for intrinsic tax morale. We find that participants in a reciprocity treatment have significantly higher tax morale than those in a social-norm treatment. This suggests that a potential backfire effect of social norms is outweighed if the consequences of violating the social norm are made salient. We further document the anatomy of intrinsic motivations for tax compliance and present first evidence that previously found gender effects in tax morale are not driven by differences in risk preferences.

Keywords: Tax compliance, Tax evasion, Intrinsic motivations, Tax morale, Social norms, Reciprocity

JEL Classification: H20, H32, H50, C93

Suggested Citation

Doerrenberg, Philipp and Peichl, Andreas, Tax Morale and the Role of Social Norms and Reciprocity. Evidence from a Randomized Survey Experiment (2017). ZEW - Centre for European Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 17-045, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3065963 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3065963

Philipp Doerrenberg (Contact Author)

ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research ( email )

P.O. Box 10 34 43
L 71
D-68034 Mannheim, 68034
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Munich
Germany

Andreas Peichl

ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research ( email )

P.O. Box 10 34 43
L 7,1
D-68034 Mannheim, 68034
Germany

University of Mannheim - School of Economics (VWL) ( email )

Mannheim 68131
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

University of Essex - Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER)

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

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