Testing the "slippery slope framework" among self-employed taxpayers

Christoph Kogler*, Stephan Muehlbacher, Erich Kirchler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


The "slippery slope framework" suggests voluntary and enforced compliance as the two motivations underlying tax compliance behavior. Using questionnaire data based on a sample of 476 self-employed taxpayers we show that perceptions of procedural and distributive justice predict voluntary compliance, and trust in authorities mediates this observed relation. In addition, the relation between retributive justice, i.e. the perceived fairness with regard to the sanctioning of tax evaders, and enforced compliance was mediated by power, just as the relation between perceived deterrence of authorities' enforcement strategies and enforced compliance. With regard to both retributive justice and deterrence also a mediational effect of trust on the relation to voluntary compliance was identified. Furthermore, voluntary and enforced compliance were related to perceived social norms, but these relations were neither mediated by trust nor power. Our findings are of particular relevance since the literature identifies self-employed taxpayers as evading considerably more taxes than employees and therefore they are an important audience for interventions to raise tax compliance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-142
Number of pages18
JournalEconomics of Governance
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2015
Externally publishedYes
Event3rd Conference on the Shadow Economy and Tax Evasion Problems - Munster, Germany
Duration: 1 Jul 2013 → …


  • Tax compliance
  • Trust
  • Power
  • Fairness
  • Slippery slope framework
  • Self-employed
  • PAY


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