My area of research generally aims at understanding the ethical decisions and decision process of professionals, and in particular professional accountants. This involves different methodologies including experimental, survey and qualitative research techniques.
In the past year, I have made significant progress in collaborating with my former Ph.D. student Jonathan Farrar (presently Assistant Professor, Ryerson University, Toronto) investigating how to increase voluntary tax compliance and mitigate tax evasion. This stream of research combines the strengths of Jonathan’s expertise in tax research with my interests in ethics research and experimental methods. Previously, we received research funding for two projects investigating how procedural, and more specifically interactional fairness, influence taxpayers’ compliance. These projects have received funding from the CPA Schulich Alliance in 2012 and 2013.
Our first project involves investigating how an important, previously unexplored aspect of procedural fairness, interactional fairness, influences taxpayers’ compliance. Interactional fairness is taxpayers’ perceived fairness of communications by and with the tax authority. We have collected data and written a preliminary paper that shows the importance of a key aspect of interactional fairness, information, in affecting subsequent taxpayers’ compliance. Our paper has been presented at the Canadian Academic Accounting Association and the European Academic Accounting Association Conference.
For the second project, we are in the process of developing a model of taxpayers’ whistleblowing integrating insights from several models of whistleblowing (Dozier & Miceli 1985, Gundlach et al. 2003, Keil et al, 2010) and a fairness perspective. We aim to establish that perceptions of fairness mediate taxpayers’ propensity to whistle blow when they encounter others’ tax evasion. This second project extends the empirical findings of the research on fairness and compliance to consider how procedural fairness influences taxpayers’ whistleblowing. We plan on using this model as a basis for a SSHRC grant submission in the Fall 2015.