Two sides of the same coin? An investigation of the effects of frames on tax compliance and charitable giving
Despite tax compliance being mandatory and charitable giving being voluntary, both can be seen as two sides of the same coin. Paying taxes and making monetary donations are two complementary ways to financially provide for the common good. Using goal-framing theory, an experimental study with a mixed-factorial design (N = 435) was conducted to test the effects of different frames on the intention to pay taxes and make charitable donations. Our results showed that for real taxpayers (i.e., for employees, self-employed, and entrepreneurs, but not for students) using a gain goal frame as a support to the normative goal frame was only effective in increasing intended tax compliance, whereas a supporting hedonic goal frame was only effective in increasing donation intention. In addition, it was found that gain and hedonic goal frames worked differently according to the prevailing motivation behind tax compliance and charitable giving. When the intrinsic motivation was already high, frames were ineffective (in the tax context) or even counter-productive (in the charitable giving context). In the presence of extrinsic motivations, instead, frames are especially effective.
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