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In the tax psychology literature, there is a lack of empirical evidence on the degree of distributive justice in taxation. This article aims to test the relationship between trust in public programmes and distributive justice in taxation at the cross-country level. The sample consists of 47 countries. Trust in public programmes and distributive justice in taxation are measured based on data collected from Wave 7 of the World Values Survey, which took place worldwide in 2017-2022. An Ordered Probit Model was utilised for the empirical analysis. This study finds that if taxpayers support preferential organisations like the police and universities, they are less likely to support distributive justice, where the rich are taxed to support the poor. On the other side, if taxpayers support equitable organisations such as armed forces, courts, civil service, and elections, then they are more likely to believe in taxing the rich to support the poor. The current study’s findings have policy implications for governments intending to improve tax revenue collection. Additionally, the practical implication of the current study is that governments willing to combat income inequality should consider the differences between preferential and equitable organisations in their decision-making. There is congruence between taxpayers’ feelings toward distributive justice and their confidence in equitable organisations.


This article was originally published in Economic Research-Ekonomska Istraživanja, volume 36, issue 3, in 2023.

t0005-10.1080_1331677X.2023.2222307.csv (1 kB)
Table A1. Sample description.

t0006-10.1080_1331677X.2023.2222307.csv (1 kB)
Table A2. List of the countries included in the analysis.

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