Lab experiment to investigate tax compliance: the case of future taxpayers' behavior in Russia and Belarus

Anna P. Kireenko, Ekaterina N. Nevzorova, Alena F. Kireyeva, Alena S. Filippovich, Ekaterina S. Khoroshavina


The paper aims to examine the internal motivation of taxpayer’s behavior, and the factors affecting tax morale and voluntary tax compliance The authors provide scientific results of the tax experiments in post-Soviet countries (Russia and Belarus). The laboratory tax experiment was carried out in a form of a business game engaging students of various levels of education and background. The controllability of the experiment with the impossibility of material encouragement is ensured in the student’s environment in the form of scores to the final attestation. In order to obtain data on tax behavior motivation, a survey on attitude to tax system was conducted. Respondents (experiment participants) were asked to indicate their level of agreement with defined statements by Likert scale. To assess the differences between two groups of participants (who paid and who do not paid tax), the data obtained as a result of filling out the questionnaire using the Mann-Whitney U-test and the Kruskal-Wallis H-test were analyzed. The study results affirmed the hypothesis generated earlier, the personal tax morale influences the national tax system and the tax behavior of an individual. The article proves that the awareness of the ways government spends public revenue and the trust level to the state and tax system itself influence tax behavior directly. The civil awareness on the real state of fiscal distribution increases the trust level to the government among taxpayers and is the essential motivation to pay taxes. The developed methodology may be used in an educational process to increase tax literacy, its further application in the scientific research will allow us to derive evidence-based methods and ways to directly influence tax behavior, which may enlarge the public revenue in the times of an unstable global economy.


1. The study reveals that the tax audit affects more the amount of evading taxes than the number of evaders, where an increase of education level helps to reduce tax evasion through citizens, to make an individual more competent and more responsible as a taxpayer

2. Laboratory tax behavior monitoring of students allows us to identify the factors that influence on the real national tax behavior and tax experiments could become a tool for the formation of strategies of interaction between tax authorities and taxpayers in Russia and Belarus

3. The main incentives for paying taxes are the trust towards the government and the tax system and the understanding of the society-oriented character of the state


Kireenko A. P., Nevzorova E. N., Kireyeva A. F., Filippovich A. S., Khoroshavina E. S. Lab experiment to investigate tax compliance: the case of future taxpayers' behavior in Russia and Belarus. Journal of Tax Reform, 2018, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 266–290. DOI: 10.15826/jtr.2018.4.3.056


Received August 14, 2018; accepted October 22, 2018


tax behavior; attitude to taxes; tax compliance; tax evasion; tax experiment; behavioral economics


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