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Political Alignment, Attitudes Toward Government and Tax Evasion

Julie Cullen (), Nick Turner and Ebonya Washington

No 6905, CESifo Working Paper Series from CESifo Group Munich

Abstract: We ask whether attitudes toward government play a causal role in the evasion of U.S. personal income taxes. We first use individual-level survey data to demonstrate a link between sharing the party of the president and trust in the administration generally and opinions on taxation and spending policy, more specifically. Next, we move to the county level, and measure tax behavior as elections, decided by the voting behavior in swing-states, push voters in partisan counties into and out of alignment with the party of the president. Using IRS data, we find that reported taxable income increases as a county moves into alignment, with the increases concentrated in income sources that are easily evaded, due to lack of third-party reporting. Corroborating the view that evasion falls, potentially suspect EITC claims and audit rates also fall. Our results provide real-world evidence that a positive outlook on government lowers tax evasion.

Keywords: tax evasion; tax morale (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 H24 H26 H30 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-acc, nep-iue, nep-pbe, nep-pol and nep-pub
Date: 2018
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (2) Track citations by RSS feed

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Working Paper: Political Alignment, Attitudes Toward Government and Tax Evasion (2018) Downloads
Working Paper: Political Alignment, Attitudes Toward Government and Tax Evasion (2018) Downloads
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