Willing to Pay?" Tax Compliance in Britain and Italy: An Experimental Analysis

As shown by the recent crisis, tax evasion poses a significant problem for countries such as Greece, Spain and Italy. While these societies certainly possess weaker fiscal institutions as compared to other EU members, might broader cultural differences between northern and southern Europe also help to explain citizens' (un)willingness to pay their taxes? To address this question, we conduct laboratory experiments in the UK and Italy, two countries which straddle this North-South divide. Our design allows us to examine citizens' willingness to contribute to public goods via taxes while holding institutions constant. We report a surprising result: when faced with identical tax institutions, redistribution rules and audit probabilities, Italian participants are significantly more likely to comply than Britons. Overall, our findings cast doubt upon "culturalist" arguments that would attribute cross-country differences in tax compliance to the lack of morality amongst southern European taxpayers.

Publication type: 
Articolo
Author or Creator: 
Zhang
N.
Andrighetto
G.
Ottone
S.
Ponzano
F.
Steinmo
Publisher: 
Public Library of Science, San Francisco, CA , Stati Uniti d'America
Source: 
PloS one (2016). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0150277
Date: 
2016
Resource Identifier: 
http://www.cnr.it/prodotto/i/348798
https://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0150277
info:doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0150277
Language: 
Eng
ISTC Author: 
Giulia Andrighetto's picture
Real name: