Reciprocity and Willingness to Pay Taxes: Evidence from a Survey Experiment in Latin America


Are citizens more willing to pay taxes when the government’s performance improves? We review the tax morale literature, disentangling its different components, and provide empirical evidence exploiting a novel survey conducted in seventeen Latin American cities and an experimental attempt at measuring reciprocity in tax collection in developing countries. The evidence suggests that governments interested in increasing tax revenues should not focus solely on escalating the coercive power of the state (that is, more audits and fines). Rather, providing better public services to society can be an effective (albeit limited) tool to raise revenues.