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Public spirit on immigration issues and tax morale in Italy: An empirical investigation

Francesco Nemore () and Andrea Morone ()

Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), 2019, vol. 81, issue C, 11-18

Abstract: Tax evasion is undoubtedly a pervasive phenomenon likely to impact negatively on equity, social capital and social cohesion. A growing body of research has started to investigate the role of “tax morale,” as the intrinsic motivation to pay taxes, in driving individual tax compliance decisions. Given the increasing anti-immigration sentiment among Italian taxpayers, triggered by recent continuous migrant inflows from North African countries, the aim of this paper is to shed light on the relationship between tax morale and public spirit on immigration issues. Drawing on the European Value Survey longitudinal dataset, a large-scale, cross-national and longitudinal survey research program on basic human values and belief systems among people in Europe, we derived an index capturing the degree of perceived threat from immigration inflows (IBTS) and a tax morale indicator (TM). Controlling for a set of widely investigated tax morale determinants, we found that the IBTS coefficient is always negative and statistically significant at the highest significance level. This means that an increase in the degree of perceived threat among taxpayers always crowds out tax morale, reducing their willingness to comply with the law.

Keywords: Tax morale; Tax compliance; Immigration; Perceived threat; Welfare use (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F22 H11 H26 H53 H75 I38 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:81:y:2019:i:c:p:11-18