Religion and Informational Influence: Evidence from Individual Tax Behavior in the U.S.

The Journal of Consumer Affairs, Vol. 55 (3), pp. 821-846, 2021

52 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2019 Last revised: 27 Jan 2022

See all articles by Didem Kurt

Didem Kurt

Northeastern University - Marketing Area

Ahmet C. Kurt

Bentley University - Department of Accountancy

Date Written: March 11, 2021

Abstract

This article seeks to understand whether and how religion plays a role in people’s information search and dissemination behavior in the domain of individual taxes. Survey data show that religious participants exhibit greater uncertainty about a tax filing decision than atheist participants, and Google search data reveal that the U.S. tax season is marked by a notably higher search interest in religious teachings on taxes. Interestingly, people’s tendency to ask “why” questions about taxes and their online search interest in tax loss strategies are greater in states with higher religiosity. In parallel, users from highly versus less religious states include more interrogatives and fewer certainty words in their tax-related tweets posted during the 2019 U.S. federal government shutdown. These findings collectively suggest that people’s certitude about individual tax matters decreases with religiosity.

Keywords: Religion, Taxes, Informational Influence, Information Search, Information Dissemination, Google, Twitter

JEL Classification: H24, Z12

Suggested Citation

Kurt, Didem and Kurt, Ahmet C., Religion and Informational Influence: Evidence from Individual Tax Behavior in the U.S. (March 11, 2021). The Journal of Consumer Affairs, Vol. 55 (3), pp. 821-846, 2021, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3365887 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3365887

Didem Kurt (Contact Author)

Northeastern University - Marketing Area ( email )

Boston, MA 02115
United States

Ahmet C. Kurt

Bentley University - Department of Accountancy ( email )

175 Forest Street
Waltham, MA 02452
United States

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