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Tax evasion and emotions: An empirical test of re-integrative shaming theory

Giorgio Coricelli (), Elena Rusconi and Marie Claire Villeval ()

Journal of Economic Psychology, 2014, vol. 40, issue C, 49-61

Abstract: Shaming can be either of two types, shaming that becomes stigmatization of the offender and favors his exclusion from the community, or shaming that is followed by forgiveness and reintegration of the deviant. Here we test experimentally these aspects of shaming theory with a repeated tax-payment game, in which the shaming “ritual” consisted of displaying the evader’s picture in addition to charging monetary sanctions. Results show that when cheating is made public and the contravener is not successively reintegrated, the total amount of cheating is significantly increased compared to when cheating is made public but publicity is immediately followed by reintegration. The former condition is associated with more intense negative emotions related to cheating. This suggests that the employment of a social shaming mechanism may be an effective, albeit very sensitive, tool in the hands of policy makers.

Keywords: Tax evasion; Moral emotions; Shaming theory; Cheating behavior; Experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H26 C91 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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Working Paper: Tax Evasion and emotions: An empirical test of re-integrative shaming theory (2014)
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