The Taxman Cometh: Why do so many people obediently pay their taxes?


Publication Date: January 2008

Publisher: Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace

Author(s): Gary S. Becker

Research Area: Banking and finance

Keywords: Taxes

Type: Brief

Coverage: United States


Audits, punishments, and the other deterrence variables mentioned above still do not fully explain why there is so little tax evasion. Could it be that most people believe they have a duty, moral or otherwise, to report their taxable income honestly, more or less.

This essay appeared in the Becker-Posner Blog on November 25, 2007.