Cheating, emotions, and rationality: an experiment on tax evasion
Description and objectives
The experiment seeks to link the connection between emotions, rational thinking and deception, a concept that is often ignored in many economics of crime approaches. Emotions are quantified on the basis self-response and response to skin conductance. The experiment explores the fact that the intensity of anticipatory emotions is related to positive reporting and the decision to cheat and evade income. Emotional arousal is seen to be increased after an audit report and even stronger after a portrait of the person in question is displayed in the public domain. The report further shows that exposure to the public of details of deception helps deter it greater than merely imposing fines. The results of this experiment highlight that exploiting the emotional aspect of cheating helps enhance compliance. Cheating is a usual event in the market platform. Social fraud and tax evasion provide good examples of deception by agents in the field of business. In its standard approach, the economies of crime concept tends to associate deception with the cost of cheating versus the expected benefit.
Often the cost of cheating is judged by the financial consequences that follow the detection. Little attention is however given to the actual process of cheating. It is this notion that has inspired the research into other methods of deterring tax evas…
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