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Persistence or Convergence? The East-West Tax Morale Gap in Germany

Möhlmann, Axel (2013): Persistence or Convergence? The East-West Tax Morale Gap in Germany.

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Abstract

This paper studies differences in tax morale attitudes between East and West Germany using multiple recent data sets. Contrary to previous 1990s evidence, but in line with recent studies on an east-west mentality gap, we find a persistent higher tax morale in East Germany and no indication of convergence over time. Distinguishing between region of living and birth and periods of within-country migration reveals that the East Germans who stayed determine the results and that migration vanishes differences. Regional economic heterogeneity of tax revenue transfers cannot explain the results. We find a framing effect on the tax morale gap with questions phrasing tax paying as the duty of a good citizen. This result suggests no gap of tax morale with moral reasoning related to the social order and citizenry.

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