Response times and tax compliance

Ho Fai Chan, Uwe Dulleck, Benno Torgler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Inspired by the work of Rubinstein, this study revisits data from a previous lab experiment to explore the relation between response times and tax compliance and understand the potential non-linearity between them by classifying decisions and individuals into compliance types. We find that individuals’ decision response time is related to their compliance decisions. Full-non compliant individuals (those who did not declare any earned income) have shorter response times than those who fully or partially complied. Full-compliant individuals also tend to declare income faster than partially compliant subjects. Such results are robust throughout time and when controlling for contextual characteristics of experimental design. We find non-linearity via an inverted U-shape function that reaches its maximum declaration time around a compliance rate of 60%, even after controlling for contextual experimental design factors. In addition, we observe a non-linear relation between cognitive skills, response time, and tax compliance. Participants with relatively high cognitive skills and very low or very high tax compliance level have low response times, while subjects with relatively lower cognitive skills tend to report higher decision times for higher compliance levels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number45
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes


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