Tax Compliance in the wild: Critical review of nudging and proposition of an integrative framework

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Hamilton Coimbra Carvalho
Alexandro Afonso
José Afonso Mazzon


Context. There is an inflation of behavioral frameworks applied to social problems, such as tax dodging. There has been also a surge in the creation of the so-called nudge units throughout the world, following the success of the pioneer units in USA and UK. Meanwhile, there has been criticism directed at aspects such as ‘psychologism,’ paternalism, and short-termism associated with nudge approaches. Moreover, by ignoring systems thinking, complexity science and other broader approaches, nudging may lead to interventions that can be ineffective or counterproductive in the long term. Goal. To overcome such limitations, the paper proposes an integrative framework, the Nested Circles Model, which put the intended behaviors in a perspective ranging from microworlds to broader upstream influences. Method. The paper employs a qualitative approach to critically review the literature on nudging and map its shortcomings. Results and contributions. The proposed model integrates major concepts from popular behavioral frameworks and incorporates elements that influence the repertoire of behaviors adopted by individuals, including intangible stocks (trust and fairness) and complexity markers. The paper concludes by exemplifying the application of the Nested Circles Model to three problems in the context of taxation in Brazil.


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Carvalho, H. C., Afonso, A., & Mazzon, J. A. (2023). Tax Compliance in the wild: Critical review of nudging and proposition of an integrative framework. Brazilian Administration Review, 20(1), e220040.
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