Would you like to pay? Taxpayers’ physiological and behavioral responses

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaContributo a convegnopeer review


Paying taxes is no fun, yet it is necessary to finance public goods. For this reasons, tax compliance is a key and ambivalent topic, and taxpayer behavior can range from deliberate tax evasion to voluntary cooperation. The present research aimed at detecting the physiological and behavioral responses on a tax compliance experiment. We evaluated participants’ intentions to pay the taxes in two different phases: individual phase, where the participant was the only one taxpayer to decide unconditionally whether paying taxes on his incomes; social phase, where the participant paid taxes together with four other taxpayers with the aim of ensuring public welfare. Each phases consisted of twenty rounds where thirty participants had to decide whether paying taxes. During the whole experiment, autonomic responses (skin conductance and heart rate) were measured by biofeedback. At the end of the experiment the participants completed a questionnaire, the Italian version of the tax compliance inventory TAX-I. TAX-I assesses tax compliance and distinguishes between two forms of compliance and non-compliance: voluntary compliance (spontaneous willingness to cooperate, emanating from taxpayers’ moral obligation to contribute to the public welfare) and enforced compliance (tax payments according to the law arise from taxpayers’ concern of being audited and fined). The behavioral results show a greater propensity to evade taxes for participants with a higher level of enforced tax compliance compared to those who had a higher level of voluntary tax compliance, in particular in individual phase. In the same way, the physiological results show greater SCR (Skin Conductance Response) for the participants with a higher level of enforced tax compliance during decision-making in individual phase. In general, the participants with higher levels of enforced tax compliance evaded in particular during individual phase. Probably, they feel the responsibility for making wrong decisions that could harm public welfare during social phase.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)98-98
Numero di pagine1
RivistaNeuropsychological Trends
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2016
EventoXXIV Congresso Nazionale della Società Italiana di Psicofisiologia - SIPF - Milano
Durata: 27 ott 201629 ott 2016


  • Autonomic indices
  • EEG
  • Taxpayers

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