Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


School of Business

First Advisor

Dr. Debby Thomas, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Dr. David Tucker, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Dr. Seth Sikkema, Ph.D.


Early studies on the reasons for tax evasion focused on economics. When economic reasons were deemed insufficient to explain all decisions, researchers added psychological and sociological constructs to their explorations. These studies focused on whether taxpayers see their tax compliance decisions as ethical ones. For those who believe their choice is ethical, they must come to grips with their own internal ethical standards and feelings of guilt when they make an unethical decision. They must then employ some mechanism to disconnect these feelings of guilt from their unethical decision. Researchers have characterized this mechanism of disconnection as neutralization, rationalization, and/or disengagement. The current study utilized the moral disengagement instrument developed by Moore et al. (2012) to investigate whether there exists a relationship between a person’s likelihood to morally disengage and their likelihood to evade taxes. The findings indicate moral disengagement is a predictor of the likelihood to evade paying taxes. This study is the first to make use of this moral disengagement instrument in the context of tax evasion and serves as a springboard for future research into the psychological mechanisms taxpayers employ.