Is there an unexplored possibility to reduce tax evasion? Concentrating on moral and personality


  • Arna Laufey Steinarsdóttir
  • Auður Hermannsdóttir



Tax evasion; tax morale; personality; HEXACO; The Dark Triad.


The scope of tax evasion is significant in Iceland. By reducing such economic crime, it is possible to increase public income considerably. The aim of the study was twofold. Firstly, to shed light on what might explain why some members of society are more likely to evade taxes than others. In that regard, a focus was put on both tax morale and personality traits. Secondly, the study seeks to answer which groups of taxpayers should be targeted to reduce tax evasion. With an electronic convenience sample, responses were obtained from 593 individuals who answered a questionnaire measuring tax evasion, tax morale, and personality. The results revealed that tax morale has the strongest predictive value on whether people are likely to evade taxes. Furthermore, the personality traits of humility and honesty along with psychopathy are of considerable importance in this regard. The results of a cluster analysis showed that it is most optimal to divide taxpayers into three groups which were named the honorable citizens, the fickle citizens, and the cunning citizens. The honorable citizens are very unlikely to evade taxes and have high tax morale. It would therefore not be an efficient use of resources to focus on that group. The other two groups, the fickle and the cunning citizens, are groups that should be targeted. It is probably most feasible to prioritize strategies aimed at the fickle citizens, although the cunning citizens must also be considered. Different measures need to be used to target these groups, as is discussed in the paper.

Author Biographies

Arna Laufey Steinarsdóttir

M.Sc. in Marketing and International Business.

Auður Hermannsdóttir

Adjunct Professor at the University of Iceland.



How to Cite

Steinarsdóttir, A. L., & Hermannsdóttir, A. (2023). Is there an unexplored possibility to reduce tax evasion? Concentrating on moral and personality. Icelandic Review of Politics & Administration, 19(2), 153–180.



Peer Reviewed Articles