Nudging for Tax Compliance: A Meta-Analysis

49 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2019 Last revised: 24 Sep 2020

See all articles by Armenak Antinyan

Armenak Antinyan

Wenlan School of Business; United Nations Development Program

Zareh Asatryan

ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 15, 2019


Taxpayer nudges - behavioral interventions that aim to increase tax compliance without changing the underlying economic incentives of taxpayers - are used increasingly by governments because of their potential cost-effectiveness in raising tax revenue. We collect about a thousand treatment effect estimates from over 40 randomized controlled trials, and in a meta-analytical framework show that non-deterrence nudges - interventions pointing to elements of individual tax morale { are on average ineffective in curbing tax evasion, while deterrence nudges - interventions emphasizing traditional determinants of compliance such as audit probabilities and penalty rates - are potent catalysts of compliance. These effects are, however, fairly small in magnitude. Deterrence nudges increase the probability of compliance by only 1.5-2.5 percentage points more than non-deterrence nudges, while the effects are likely to be bound to the short-run, and are somewhat inflated by selective reporting of results.

Keywords: Tax compliance, Randomized control trials, Nudging, Meta-analysis

JEL Classification: C93, D91, H26

Suggested Citation

Antinyan, Armenak and Asatryan, Zareh, Nudging for Tax Compliance: A Meta-Analysis (November 15, 2019). ZEW - Centre for European Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 19-055, Available at SSRN: or

Armenak Antinyan (Contact Author)

Wenlan School of Business ( email )

No.143, Wuluo Road
Wuhan, Hubei 430073

United Nations Development Program ( email )

Petros Adamyan 14
Yerevan, 0010

Zareh Asatryan

ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research ( email )

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

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