An important milestone was reached by one of the articles co-authored by Giulia Andrighetto. The paper “Are Some Countries More Honest than Others? Evidence from a Tax Compliance Experiment in Sweden and Italy, published on the journal Frontiers in Psychology, exceeded 10.000 online views in one year and a half only.
The study examines cultural differences in ordinary dishonesty between Italy and Sweden, two countries with different reputations for trustworthiness and probity. The researchers conducted a set of laboratory experiments testing how
Swedes and Italians behave when it comes to pay their taxes.
The results show that on averag tax evasion does not differ significantly between Sweden and Italy. This challenges national stereotypes of two very different countries: Swedes think that honesty is a typical national trait, whereas the trustworthiness of Italians is ranked as low, not only by other EU countries, but by Italians themselves. The study found, on the contrary, that when Italians are given the same choices as Swedes, they may fudge slightly more, but in the end they contribute just as much to the public good as the Swedes do.
However, some differences in national “styles” of dishonesty could be find: while Swedes are more likely to be either completely honest or completely dishonest in their fiscal declarations, Italians are more prone to cheating by a small amount of money. In the article, the authors discuss the implications of these findings for the evolution and enforcement of honesty norms.
Read the full article
Andrighetto, G., Zhang, N, Ottone, S, Ponzano, F, D’Attoma, J, Steinmo, S (2016) “Are Some Countries More Honest than Others? Evidence from a Tax Compliance Experiment in Sweden and Italy. Frontiers in Psychology 7:472