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Unpublished Paper
Tax Morale, Fiscal Capacity, and Wars
  • Alessandro Belmonte, IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca
  • Désirée Teobaldelli, University of Urbino
  • Davide Ticchi, Marche Polytechnic University
This paper studies how mobilization for war motivates citizens to contribute to their own community and therefore help forming tax morale in a constituency. We derive a theoretical model to investigate government's decision to expand tax revenues from alternative sources, namely changing the country's culture of tax compliance or expanding fiscal capacity. Despite the two are initially substitute, we show how in equilibrium dynamic complementarity arises. Our mechanism exploits exogenous variation in the cost of tax morale formation, induced by an expected war (either internal or external) that makes easier for the government to mobilize the constituency. We motivate our theory through a novel cross-country analysis that uses information on war frequency, tax morale, and fiscal capacity. We additionally discuss some historical cases consistent with our mechanism.
  • tax morale,
  • state capacity,
  • external threat,
  • civil wars,
  • dynamic complementarity,
  • culture and institutions.
Publication Date
Spring February 1, 2018
Citation Information
Belmonte, Alessandro, Désirée Teobaldelli, Davide Ticchi. “Tax Morale, Fiscal Capacity, and Wars.” IMT LUCCA EIC WORKING PAPER SERIES #03/2018.