Ethics, Tax Evasion and Gender: Empirical Studies of Opinion in Utah and 14 Countries in the Western Hemisphere
21 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2007
Date Written: January 2007
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 begins with an empirical study conducted in Utah, 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 to determine whether responses varied by gender. In phase two we look at the gender statistics for selected countries in the Western hemisphere that were gathered as part of a much larger study on human values and beliefs. The results of the two studies are not comparable because of different methodologies but the results are interesting nonetheless.
Keywords: ethics, tax evasion, gender, western hemisphere, Utah, Latin America
JEL Classification: D6,E62,H26,J16,J1,K34,K42,M14,M4,O51,O54
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation