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Persistence or Convergence? The East—West Tax-Morale Gap in Germany

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This paper studies differences in tax-morale attitudes between East and West Germany using multiple recent data sets. Contrary to previous 1990s evidence, but in line with recent studies on an east–west mentality gap, we find a persistent higher tax morale in East Germany and no indication of convergence over time. Distinguishing between region of living and birth reveals that East Germans who stayed determine the results and that migration reduces differences. Regional economic heterogeneity cannot explain the results, whereas historical patterns of religious denomination absorb part of the effect. An effect of question phrasing illustrates underlying moral reasoning.
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Keywords: CONVERGENCE; EAST—WEST DIFFERENCES; GERMAN REUNIFICATION; MORAL REASONING; TAX MORALE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2014

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  • As one of the world's oldest professional journals in public finance, founded in 1884, FinanzArchiv (FA) publishes original work from all fields of public economics which are of interest to an international readership, e.g. taxation, public debt, public goods, public choice, federalism, market failure, social policy, and the welfare state. Special emphasis is on high-quality theoretical and empirical papers on current policy issues.

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