Journal of Business Ethics 115 (3):451-468 (2013)

The purpose of this study is to explore with more rigor and detail the role of social norms in tax compliance. This study draws on Cialdini and Trost’s (The Handbook of Social Psychology: Oxford University Press, Boston, MA, 1998) taxonomy of social norms to investigate with more specificity this potentially decisive (Alm and McKee, Managerial and Decision Economics, 19:259–275, 1998) influence on tax compliance. We test our research hypotheses regarding the direct and indirect influences of social norms using a hypothetical compliance scenario with 174 experienced taxpayers as participants. Factor analysis of the social norm questions successfully identified four distinct social norm constructs, in line with Cialdini and Trost (1998). Results of the path analysis show that individuals’ standards for behavior/ethical beliefs (personal norms) as well as the expectations of close others (subjective norms) directly influence tax compliance decisions, whereas general societal expectations (injunctive norms) and other individuals’ actual behavior (descriptive norms) have an indirect influence. This shows that social norms have important direct as well as indirect influences on tax compliance behavior. We also investigate a number of attitudinal variables that may be related to social norms and taxpayer compliance. The results of this study further clarify the important role that social norms have with regard to taxpayers’ compliance behavior
Keywords Tax compliance  Taxpayers  Social norms
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10551-012-1390-7
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 72,577
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Do Ethics Matter? Tax Compliance and Morality.James Alm & Benno Torgler - 2011 - Journal of Business Ethics 101 (4):635-651.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

View all 19 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Do Ethics Matter? Tax Compliance and Morality.James Alm & Benno Torgler - 2011 - Journal of Business Ethics 101 (4):635-651.
Young Children Enforce Social Norms.Marco F. H. Schmidt & Michael Tomasello - 2012 - Current Directions in Psychological Science 21 (4):232-236.
A Framework for the Psychology of Norms.Chandra Sripada & Stephen Stich - 2006 - In Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence & Stephen P. Stich (eds.), The Innate Mind, Volume 2: Culture and Cognition. Oxford University Press.
Norms and Customs: Causally Important or Causally Impotent?Todd Jones - 2010 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 40 (3):399-432.


Added to PP index

Total views
35 ( #329,459 of 2,533,579 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #390,861 of 2,533,579 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes