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Nudging for tax compliance: A meta-analysis

Armenak Antinyan and Zareh Asatryan

No 19-055, ZEW Discussion Papers from ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research

Abstract: Taxpayer nudges - behavioral interventions that aim to increase tax compliance without changing the underlying economic incentives of taxpayers - are used increasingly by governments because of their potential cost-effectiveness in raising tax revenue. We collect about a thousand treatment effect estimates from over 40 randomized controlled trials, and in a meta-analytical framework show that non-deterrence nudges - interventions pointing to elements of individual tax morale - are on average ineffective in curbing tax evasion, while deterrence nudges - interventions emphasizing traditional determinants of compliance such as audit probabilities and penalty rates - are potent catalysts of compliance. These effects are, however, fairly small in magnitude. Deterrence nudges increase the probability of compliance by only 1.5-2.5 percentage points more than non-deterrence nudges, while the effects are likely to be bound to the short-run, and are somewhat inflated by selective reporting of results.

Keywords: Tax compliance; Randomized control trials; Nudging; Meta-analysis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C93 D91 H26 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-acc, nep-cbe, nep-exp, nep-iue, nep-pbe and nep-pub
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