Shaming of Tax Evaders: Empirical Evidence on Perceptions of Retributive Justice and Tax Compliance Intentions

Okafor O. N.

Journal of Business Ethics, vol.182, no.2, pp.377-395, 2023 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 182 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10551-021-05011-y
  • Journal Name: Journal of Business Ethics
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Periodicals Index Online, ABI/INFORM, Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, Communication & Mass Media Index, Communication Abstracts, EBSCO Education Source, EconLit, Education Abstracts, Gender Studies Database, PAIS International, Philosopher's Index, Psycinfo, Public Affairs Index, DIALNET
  • Page Numbers: pp.377-395
  • Keywords: Naming-and-shaming, Persuasion, Hierarchical regression, Retributive justice, Tax evasion, Tax compliance
  • TED University Affiliated: No


© 2021, The Author(s).Although naming-and-shaming (shaming) is a commonly used tax enforcement mechanism, little is known about the efficacy of shaming tax evaders. Through two experiments, this study examines the effects of shaming tax evaders on third-party observers’ perceptions of retributive justice and tax compliance intentions, and whether the salience of persuasion of observers moderates these relationships. Based on insights from defiance theory, the message learning model, and persuasive communications, this study predicts and finds that shaming evaders increases observers’ tax compliance intentions. Furthermore, the results show that higher persuasion, which includes sanction and normative appeals, affects observers’ tax compliance intentions. This study also suggests that shaming has a positive effect on perceptions of retributive justice. Importantly, the results reveal that perceptions of retributive justice in shaming punishment mediate the effect of shaming on tax compliance intentions. The implications for theory and practice are discussed.