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Does trust in the government matter for whistleblowing on tax evaders? survey and experimental evidence

Antinyan, Armenak ORCID:, Corazzini, Luca and Pavesi, Filippo 2020. Does trust in the government matter for whistleblowing on tax evaders? survey and experimental evidence. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 171 , pp. 77-95. 10.1016/j.jebo.2020.01.014

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Whistleblowing is a powerful tool that the tax authorities of various countries use to curb tax evasion. Nonetheless, the determinants shaping one's positive attitude toward whistleblowing are rather understudied. We investigate the relationship between trust in the government and the attitude toward whistleblowing on tax evaders. Potential whistleblowers may distrust the government either because they doubt that it will operate efficiently (avoiding to waste tax revenue) and fairly (treating all taxpayers equally), or because they fear that their anonymity may not be preserved. We focus on the relationship between the former channel of distrust and the attitude toward whistleblowing, and our analysis proceeds in two steps. First, we provide motivating evidence from a unique national household survey administered in the Republic of Armenia. We then present results from a large-scale survey experiment in the USA that provides causal evidence in support of the investigated relationship. Our main finding is that a more trustworthy government exerts a positive effect on citizens’ attitude toward whistleblowing.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0167-2681
Date of Acceptance: 15 January 2020
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2022 10:28

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