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Future orientation and taxes: Evidence from big data

Matthias Petutschnig

Journal of International Accounting, Auditing and Taxation, 2017, vol. 29, issue C, 14-31

Abstract: This paper analyses whether various aspects of a country’s tax system have a positive or negative influence on individuals’ attitudes towards the future. These attitudes are measured in an analysis of Google search queries derived from Google Trends, which allow constructing an online future-orientation index for a sample of 58 countries over a period of five years. The results of this analysis indicate that personal income taxes, capital gains taxes and value added taxes discourage future-oriented behavior. Corporate income taxes could positively influence a society’s degree of future orientation. This paper contributes to existing research in three ways: First, it expands the existing tax literature by providing evidence that taxes can influence very fundamental personal values, such as individuals’ general attitudes towards their future. Second, it contributes to a vast body of cross-cultural studies on future orientation by introducing tax law to that field of research. Third, by using internet search patterns the paper integrates these large, automatically gathered data sets into scientific tax research, thereby opening the possibility for further research opportunities.

Keywords: Future orientation; Personal income tax; VAT; Capital gains tax; Google searches (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H24 H25 L26 Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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