Implicit Attitudes and U.S. Tax Professionals’ Reliance on Offshore Tax Professionals’ Recommendations
48 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2020
Date Written: August 5, 2020
Large accounting firms offshore a significant amount of tax work to professionals in India. Prior research suggests that individuals can have negative implicit attitudes toward people from different nationalities and that negative implicit attitudes can have undesired consequences. In this study, we measure a sample of U.S. tax professionals’ implicit attitudes toward Indian persons using an implicit association test (IAT) and assess whether the U.S. tax professionals respond differently to work produced by Indian versus U.S. tax professionals and whether implicit attitudes affect the U.S. professionals’ assessments of Indian tax professionals’ work product. We document that participants in our study have strong negative implicit attitudes toward Indian persons relative to U.S. persons. Conversely, we find similar reliance on and evaluation of U.S. and Indian work products, suggesting that the negative implicit attitudes observed have no relation to any of the variable measures we collect. Participants appear able to rise above their negative implicit attitudes and perform their tax work without bias in our experiment. However, it is important to acknowledge that negative implicit attitudes may result in biased behavior towards others in contexts outside of our experiment.
Keywords: India, Offshoring, Tax, Implicit attitudes, Implicit Attitude Test (IAT)
JEL Classification: M4, M40, M41, M55, H2, H20, C9, C90
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