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Trusting the Tax Office: does Putnam's thesis relate to tax?

CollectionsANU School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet)
Title: Trusting the Tax Office: does Putnam's thesis relate to tax?
Author(s): Job, Jenny
Reinhart, Monika
Keywords: social capital
Australian Tax Office
Community Participation and Citizenship survey
public opinion
Publisher: The Australian National University, Centre for Tax System Integrity (CTSI)
Series/Report no.: Working Paper (Centre for Tax System Integrity (CTSI), The Australian National University) ; no. 53
Data from the Community Participation and Citizenship Survey are used to explore the factors that influence people to place trust in strangers and impersonal others. We use Putnams social capital thesis to explore whether civic engagement and associational membership are major factors in the development of generalised or social trust, and whether this kind of trust is generalisable to trust in government institutions, specifically the Australian Taxation Office. There is partial support for Putnams thesis that civic engagement develops social trust. More important is affective trust which is developed in the family and through familiar others. We find that trust is generalisable, being extended to strangers and to the impersonal others in government institutions. It is trust that builds trust and government institutions like the Tax Office begin their task with benefits accrued through generalised trust.
ISBN: 0 642 76849 8
ISSN: 1444-8211


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