Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 123, Issue 2, pp 309–326 | Cite as

Consumer Reactions to Corporate Tax Strategies: Effects on Corporate Reputation and Purchasing Behavior

  • Inga Hardeck
  • Rebecca Hertl


On the basis of an interdisciplinary approach linking taxation, marketing, and corporate social responsibility, the present research investigates the effects of media reports on aggressive and responsible corporate tax strategies (CTSs) on corporate success with consumers. By means of two laboratory experiments (N = 150, 360), we analyze the effects of the CTSs on corporate reputation, consumer purchase intention, and the consumer’s willingness to pay. Our results suggest that aggressive CTSs diminish corporate success with consumers, whereas responsible CTSs enhance it. Nevertheless, consumers are not willing to pay a price premium for products sold by responsible tax-planning companies, but rather punish aggressive tax-planning companies through a slightly lower willingness to pay. Finally, consumers’ tax morale and their attitude toward tax avoidance are important moderating variables. Given the growing level of media interest in taxation, our findings are crucial for assessing consumer-related non-tax costs and the benefits of different CTSs.


Corporate Social Responsibility Purchase Intention Corporate Social Responsibility Activity Price Premium Corporate Reputation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Analysis of variance


Corporate social responsibility


Corporate tax strategy


Corporate tax strategies


Fast-moving consumer goods



The authors would like to thank two anonymous reviewers of JBE, Henrik Sattler, Michel Clement, Siegfried Grotherr, and Christina Elschner for their helpful comments. In addition, the authors would like to thank Melanie Steinhoff and Cerrin Eschholz for their support in collecting the data. An earlier version of this paper has been part of the authors’ dissertations, which are accessible in Germany under the title “Reputative Risiken bei aggressiver Steuerplanung – Empirische Evidenz und internationale Bezüge” (Inga Hardeck) and “Essays on the Effectiveness of Advertising and Branding” (Rebecca Hertl, née Heuke).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Business Taxation, School of Business, Economics and Social SciencesUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Custom AnalyticsThe Nielsen CompanyHamburgGermany

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