Musings on Accounting Research by Steve

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Wither Behavioural and Social Tax research?


One of the enduring mysteries to me is the relative dearth of social and behavioural tax research with an accounting and auditing focus. Is it really the fault of B2 (Bryan and Brian) who in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s were the “stars” of the North American behavioural tax world and have been relatively quiet since?

Yes, I know there are a large number in of what I call ” normal science” behavioural tax researchers that are working hard to turn the dial! But what Social and Behavioural Tax lacks are the intellectual thought leaders at major research schools that help set an agenda for the research area. These also produce the next generation of such researchers and hence this situation if a double threat as the current crop of researchers does not replicate.

Yet I cannot think of an area related to accounting that behavioural and social research would not be so a appropriate for! From decisions about corporate tax evasion, the slippery slope from planning to fraud, to bettering compliance, roles of tax professionals, and more all are potentially in the mix.

Instead from we have is research from behavioural economists, behavioural finance types, sociologists, and generic JDM researchers attempting to investigate an area where they have no domain specific knowledge but can gather the low hanging fruit due to lack of competition. If you do not believe me, use google scholar and search on terms like ” behavioural tax” ” tax experiments” and the like.

So while I applaud the hard work of our corps of hard working behavioural tax researchers we really need young researchers at top schools to consider working in this field. And that’s the way I see it!

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