Research in Brief 93

The concept of ‘tax morale’ seeks to capture an individual’s willingness (or unwillingness) to pay taxes. The study of tax morale in lower-income countries is significant for understanding “quasi-voluntary” tax compliance, popular support for tax reform programs, and the broader character of social contracts. While interest in tax morale research has surged over the past decade, the use of the concept in research has often been relatively broad and imprecise. This risks a lack of comparability across studies. More importantly, insufficiently nuanced research risks telling an incomplete or misleading story. As part of a broader effort for greater conceptual precision, this paper highlights the importance of distinguishing between conditional and unconditional understandings of tax morale.


Wilson Prichard

Wilson Prichard is an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto, a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, and Chief Executive Officer of the International Centre for Tax and Development. His research focuses on the relationship between taxation and citizen demands for improved governance in sub-Saharan Africa.
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