Future Orientation and Taxes: Evidence from Big Data

Publication: Working/Discussion PaperWU Working Paper

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Abstract

The paper analyses whether various aspects of a country's tax system have a positive or negative
influence on individuals' attitudes towards the future. These attitudes are measured by an analysis
of Google search queries derived from Google Trends which allow constructing an online futureorientation
index for a sample of 58 countries. There results of this analysis indicate that capital
gains taxes and value added taxes discourage future-oriented behaviour. Also, high personal income
tax rates at the lowest income brackets discourage, whereas - surprisingly - the top marginal rates
could positively influence an individual's future orientation. The paper contributes to existing
research in three ways: First, it expands the existing tax literature by providing evidence that taxes
can influence very fundamental personal values, such as individuals' general attitudes towards their
future. Second, it contributes to a vast body of cross-cultural studies on future orientation by
introducing tax law. Third, by using Internet search patterns the paper introduces these large,
automatically gathered data sets into scientific tax research, thereby opening the possibility for
further research opportunities. (author's abstract)
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationVienna
PublisherWU Vienna University of Economics and Business
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015

Publication series

NameWU International Taxation Research Paper Series
No.2015-08

WU Working Paper Series

  • WU International Taxation Research Paper Series

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