When is Tax Evasion Ethical? An Empirical Study of Macau Opinion
38 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2006
Date Written: March 2006
The ethics of tax evasion has been discussed sporadically in the theological and philosophical literature for at least 500 years. Martin Crowe wrote a doctoral thesis that reviewed much of that literature in 1944. The debate revolved around about 15 issues. Over the centuries, three main views evolved on the topic.
This paper begins with a review of the literature and identifies the main issues and summarizes the three main viewpoints that have emerged over the centuries. It then reports on the results of a survey of business and economics students in Macau who were asked their opinions on the ethics of tax evasion. The survey consisted of 15 statements, representing the three viewpoints that have emerged over the centuries. Participants were asked to signify the extent of their agreement with each statement by placing a number from 1 to 7 in the space provided. One hundred eighty-seven (187) usable responses were received. The data were then analyzed to determine which of the three viewpoints was dominant among the sample population. Male scores were also compared to female scores to determine if the responses differed by gender. Males were significantly more opposed to tax evasion than females for 3 of the 15 cases. Gender differences were insignificant for the other 12 cases.
Keywords: tax evasion, evade, Macau, China, ethics
JEL Classification: H26, M4, O53, D6, E62, J16, K34, K42, M14
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