The social psychology of taxation

Alan Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Outlines the overlap between social psychology, taxation, and government spending, an area referred to as fiscal psychology. Attention is drawn to the tendency of many public economists to ignore the intervening variables between economic stimuli and economic response. These intervening variables are largely attitudinal and could be used to improve economic predictions, understanding of the effects of taxes on work effort, the tendency to evade taxes, and more generally, the relationship between taxpayer and government. Fiscal psychology also incorporates familiar approaches in social psychology including equity, intergroup relations, and attribution theory, and debates about attitude structure and the attitudes/behavior link. Comment is additionally made on the importance of assessing taxpayer's preferences for government spending, and their influence on and reaction to government fiscal policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-158
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1982


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