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Media negativity bias and tax compliance: experimental evidence

Miloš Fišar (), Tommaso Reggiani (), Fabio Sabatini () and Jiří Špalek ()
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Tommaso Reggiani: Cardiff University

International Tax and Public Finance, 2022, vol. 29, issue 5, No 4, 1160-1212

Abstract: Abstract We study the impact of the media negativity bias on tax compliance. Through a framed laboratory experiment, we assess how the exposure to biased news about government action affects compliance in a repeated taxation game. Subjects treated with positive news are significantly more compliant than the control group. Instead, the exposure to negative news does not prompt any significant reaction compared to the neutral condition, suggesting that participants may perceive the media negativity bias in the selection and tonality of news as the norm rather than the exception. Overall, our results suggest that biased news provision is a constant source of psychological priming and plays a vital role in taxpayers’ compliance decisions.

Keywords: Tax compliance; Media bias; Taxation game; Laboratory experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 D70 H26 H31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1007/s10797-021-09706-w

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