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Is tax morale culturally driven?

Luca Andriani, Randolph Bruno (), Elodie Douarin () and Paulina Stepien-Baig

Journal of Institutional Economics, 2022, vol. 18, issue 1, 67-84

Abstract: Citizens' tax compliance should not only respond to the quality of formal institutions, but might also be culturally driven. We contribute to this literature by investigating whether tax morale, an individual's intrinsic non-pecuniary motivation to comply with taxes, is associated with the cultural values (following Hofstede's typology) held by this individual. The analysis exploits four waves of the European Values Survey (1981–2010) across 48 countries. The cultural dimensions are constructed through a polychoric principal component analysis on a set of relevant survey items consistent with Hofstede's definitions. Ordered logit estimations suggest that although values of individualism and femininity are associated with higher individual's tax morale, power distance and uncertainty avoidance are associated with lower tax morale. These results remain consistent as we increase the level of granularity of our investigation through within-region analyses and, subsequently, within-cohort analyses. We argue that these results inevitably enrich the emerging debate about cultural values and citizens' compliance with formal institutions. They also indicate that societal culture as well as individual values should be considered when designing policies aiming to improve tax compliance.

Date: 2022
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