Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Susan C. Morse (UC-Hastings), Tax Compliance and the Love Molecule
Oxytocin [the "love molecule"] is relevant to tax policy because it affects people’s decisions to contribute to the funding of public goods, a basic goal of taxation. ...
Oxytocin infusions might also increase citizens’ willingness to fund public goods through tax compliance, particularly if taxpayers perceived that their tax payments would benefit their in-groups. Of course, the government cannot distribute nasal inhalers along with Forms 1040. But it could try to increase taxpayer oxytocin levels nonpharmacologically, by presenting tax compliance as part of a trusting and reciprocal relationship. But what reciprocal relationship should the government try to trigger? There are at least three possibilities: (i) taxpayer-government reciprocity, (ii) taxpayer-taxpayer reciprocity framed by cooperative funding of public goods, and (iii) taxpayer-taxpayer reciprocity presented as a more intimate personal connection, for example with the help of an advertising narrative.