To Pay or Not to Pay? Business Owners’ Tax Morale: Testing a Neo-Institutional Framework in a Transition Environment

Journal of Business Ethics 157 (1):75-93 (2019)
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Abstract

In order to understand how the environment influences business owner/managers’ attitudes towards tax morale, we build a theoretical model based on a neo-institutionalist framework. Our model combines three complementary perspectives on institutions—normative, cultural–cognitive and regulatory–instrumental. This enables a broader understanding of factors that influence business owner–managers’ attitudes towards tax evasion. We test the resulting hypotheses using regression analysis on survey data on business owner/managers in Latvia—a transition country, which has undergone massive institutional changes since it was part of the Soviet Union over 25 years ago. We find that legitimacy of the tax authorities and the government, feeling of belonging to the nation and perceptions of the risk and severity of punishment are all associated with higher tax morale for business owners and managers.

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