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Theses

Essays in Economic Psychology of Tax Evasion Behavior

Abstract : The first Chapter uses differential psychology and psychometrics to correlate tax evasion behaviour observed in the lab to individual personality traits, measured thanks to standardized psychometric questionnaires. These personality questionnaires are related to moral emotions, moral judgments and norm submission. The results are twofold. First, moral emotions better explain evasion behavior than any other personality questionnaire. However, secondly, the explanatory power of these personality traits remains very modest. This lack of a strong relationship suggests that individual characteristics are of little help to understand and predict tax evasion behavior. It highlights the importance of the institutional context in which compliance is elicited. The second and third Chapters try to better account for this institutional context, using the social psychology of commitment. The second Chapter shows that a modification of the taxpayer’s environment, thanks to the exposition to an oath to tell the truth, increases the level of honesty of subsequent tax reports. Building on these results, the third Chapter investigates the hypothesis that direct democracy, as present in some cantons in Switzerland, could be the source of higher tax compliance. According to the existing literature, its cause could be either social coordination between agents or a commitment effect due to the vote itself. The results show that social coordination between taxpayers does not explain this phenomenon, which rather reflects a commitment effect of participation in the electoral process.
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Submitted on : Friday, September 15, 2017 - 11:55:05 AM
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Antoine Malezieux. Essays in Economic Psychology of Tax Evasion Behavior. Economics and Finance. Université de Lorraine, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017LORR0062⟩. ⟨tel-01588195⟩

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