Standard economic models of tax compliance have focused on enforcement-driven compliance. Notably, tax administrators also tend to place a great deal of emphasis on the importance of improving "tax morale" by encouraging voluntary compliance, creating a culture of compliance, and changing social norms. Tax morale does indeed appear to be an important component of compliance decisions, and there is strong evidence that tax morale operates through a variety of underlying channels. There is less evidence - to date - that indicates we know how to leverage these channels to improve compliance and revenue collection in a consistently successful way.
We thank Tim Taylor, David Autor, Chang-Tai Hsieh, and Ulrike Malmendier for many helpful comments and Elizabeth Spink for outstanding research assistance. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Erzo F. P. Luttmer & Monica Singhal, 2014. "Tax Morale," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(4), pages 149-68, Fall. citation courtesy of