The Ethics of Tax Evasion: An Empirical Study of Utah Opinion
Andreas School of Business Working Paper
19 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2006
Date Written: September 2006
In 1944, Martin Crowe, a Catholic priest, wrote a doctoral dissertation titled The Moral Obligation of Paying Just Taxes. His dissertation summarized and analyzed 500 years of theological and philosophical debate on this topic, which identified three basic philosophical positions on the issue. Since Crowe's dissertation, not much has been written on the topic of tax evasion from an ethical perspective.
The present paper is an empirical study, the goal of which is to determine the strength of the 15 arguments justifying tax evasion that Crowe identified plus 3 more recent arguments. A survey was constructed using a seven-point Likert scale that included all three positions and all 18 arguments and distributed to 638 students at a large college in the western United States. The 18 arguments were ranked in terms of strength, from strongest to weakest. Comparisons were also made between male and female responses and between majors.
Keywords: tax evasion, ethics, Utah, Mormon, gender
JEL Classification: D6, E62, H26, J16, J1, K34, K42, M14, M4
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