Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis


Moore School of Business



First Advisor

Melayne M McInnes


The literature on tax evasion suggests that ethical considerations are one of the reasons why people evade taxes much less than suggested by standard economic models (Alm et al, (1995), Frey (1997)). According to moral disengagement theory (Bandura (1990, 1999, 2002)), individuals refrain from unethical behaviors which violate their moral standards to avoid self-condemnation. However, unethical behaviors could still occur if individuals could reconstruct their conduct to avoid the psychological costs. In this study, I hypothesize that taxpayers are more likely to evade taxes after they make tax-deductible donations, because the existence of third-party beneficiaries makes it easier for them to reconstruct and justify their conduct. Using laboratory experiments, this study will contribute to the understanding of tax evasion by showing the effects of self-justification. Also, to my knowledge, this study will be the first application of moral disengagement theory in a tax context.


© 2012, Di Yang