STL Faculty Seed Fund Researchers Lily Tsai and Xiaobo Lü Present at APSA

On September 1, 2016, Lily Tsai (Associate Professor, MIT) and Xiaobo Lü (Assistant Professor, University of Texas at Austin) presented their experimental study on the attitudes toward property tax compliance in China at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (APSA) in Philadelphia, PA. Their research was funded by the 2015 STL Faculty Seed Fund.

Lily Tsai and Xiaobo Lü participated as the presenters in a panel on the Political Economy of China, which is part of the mini-Conference on Chinese politics in the APSA conference. Other participants include scholars from Princeton, Stanford, University of Michigan, Cornell, among other renowned research universities in the United States.

The research by Lily Tsai and Xiaobo Lü investigates the extent to which citizen input enhances willingness to comply with taxes by conducting a conjoint experiment in urban China. Consistent with existing theories of procedural justice and social contract, they found that channels for citizen input do indeed have an impact on preferences for tax policies even in a developing context like China. More importantly, their research finds supporting evidence for retributive justice concerns, which suggests that top-down institutions for auditing the use of tax revenues and punishing misuse has a sizable conditional effect on the importance of citizen input in citizen willingness to comply with taxation. The results of their study generate several important implications for our understanding of the relationship among representation, legitimacy and tax compliance.

The APSA annual meeting is the largest conference for scholars of political science around the globe, featuring hundreds of panels and thousands of papers.