How Do We Research Tax Morale at the Subnational Level?

Authors: Jalia Kangave, Giulia Mascagni & Mick Moore
Publisher: IDS
Date: January 2018

Abstract:

IDS Working Paper 506

One of the most effective ways of increasing voluntary tax compliance is by improving tax morale. Several studies have been undertaken to examine why some individuals pay taxes while others do not. While many of these studies have been conducted at the national level, there is an increasing body of research at the subnational level.

Three main methods are used to study tax morale: surveys, simulation exercises and field experiments. In this paper, we describe each of these methods, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses. We also examine their usefulness to tax administrators and policymakers wishing to increase tax compliance. We conclude that to get a better understanding of the factors that affect tax morale at the subnational level, more studies need to be undertaken. This should include studies that use qualitative methods to understand taxpayer behaviour. Lastly, studies should also investigate the variations between categories of individuals.