Dr. Mohsen Souissi 氏
On July 22, 2019, Professor Mossen Souissi, from Lafayette University (North Carolina, USA) made presentation that was based on the investigation on how cultural dimensions such as individualism and uncertainty avoidance account for the differences in attitudes toward tax evasion between Japan and France. It also looks into another important moderating factor, namely the gender, that may explain these differences.
According the literature he had reviewed, the determinants of the tax evasion are related to 1) administrative factor: economic: 2) economic factor: tax rate, utility maximization; 3) demographic factors; age, gender, race, education, religion and 4) cultural factors.
His presentation focused on the cultural dimensions as defined in Hofsted’s Cultural Framework (Hofsted, 1980). As for the tax evasion, Professor Souissi’s hypotheses are based on two cultural features, namely: uncertainty avoidance and individualism.
On the scale of Hofsted, France ranks higher than Japan on individualism and lower than Japan on uncertainty avoidance.
Uncertainty avoidance is defined as the extent to which a given society/group handles uncertainty and the unknown which generally characterize future events.
According his analysis, people in societies that are less inclined to accept uncertainty are likely to tolerate less ambiguity. In these countries, tax rules tend to be more complex and detailed to overcome uncertainty. Paradoxically, people living in these countries perceive these rules as complicated which in turn increases the probability of tax evasion.
Individualism pertains to the position of an individual in the society and the relations such individual entertains with that society. In contrast to individualistic societies where interactions between individuals are weak, people in collective societies tend to enjoy stronger relations with the members of their societies or groups. In individualistic societies, individuals expect their government to enact rules and procedures that are considered fair and consistent.
From these two features, Professor posits that “People in France are more opposed to tax evasion compared to their counterparts in Japan” (Hypothesis 1). The second hypothesis is based on gender: “Women in both countries are more opposed to tax evasion than men”(Hypothesis 2).
The results of the survey he did in Japan and France confirm his two hypotheses.