A Demographic Study of Polish Attitudes Toward Tax Evasion
64 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2014
Date Written: March 17, 2014
A number of studies have examined the relationship between tax collection and various demographic variables. However, until recently most of those studies have involved a United States sample population. The Internal Revenue Service provides demographic data for researchers on a regular basis. The present study goes beyond those studies in several important ways. For one, it uses data on Poland taken from the World Values database. Not much work has been done on the post-communist Polish tax or public finance system. Thus, the present study expands on the very limited research done on Polish public finance.
The present study expands on existing literature in at least two other ways as well. For one, it examines how various demographics interact with attitudes toward tax evasion. Secondly, we examine several demographic variables that were not examined in prior studies.
One of the questions in the World Values database asked whether it would be justifiable to cheat on taxes if it were possible to do so. Respondents were asked to choose a number from 1 to 10 to indicate the extent of their support for tax evasion. This study examines those responses, both overall and through the prism of more than 20 demographic variables. A trend analysis is also done to determine whether Polish attitudes regarding tax evasion have changed in recent years. A comparison is made with other ethical issues to determine the relative seriousness of tax evasion.
The study found that attitudes toward the justifiability of tax evasion often do vary by demographic variable. Tax evasion was found to be a less serious offense than wife beating, accepting a bribe or claiming government benefits to which you are not entitled and more serious than avoiding a fare on public transport or prostitution. Tax evasion has become less justifiable since the dismantling of the Berlin Wall but the trend has not been linear.
Although the present study focuses on Poland, the methodology used in the present study could serve as a template for research on other countries or regions. A bibliography of further reading is also included, along with links to more than 80 other tax evasion studies.
Keywords: tax evasion, ethics, empirical study, demographic variables, gender, age, education level, employment status, income level, occupation, marital status, family size, religion, size of town, social class, happiness, health, political spectrum, income inequality, competition, confidence in government
JEL Classification: H26, A13, A14, D63, E26, I1, I2, J1, J12, J14, J16, K34, K42, M4, O17, O52, Y5
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation