ERG SES H 02, Vocational Education and Training
Nowadays, young people all over the world start making economic decisions at an early stage of their lives. Economic and financial decisions should be based on knowledge rather than on impulse as was already stated in 1970 by the economist George Stigler (1970):
“The citizen of a democracy is called upon to judge public policy in a thousand directions–military, educational, medical, economical and recreational, for example–he will make better decisions if he is well-informed.” (p. 77)
International organizations such as the OECD foster initiatives and research in the field of economic literacy (Greimel-Fuhrmann, 2012/13, p. If). In Austria, the importance of economic education is reflected by a recently issued fundamental decree on an educational principle. This decree is valid for all schools in Austria, therefore, economic education should be integrated into various subjects. In detail, this decree would enable students “[…] to exercise their roles of economic citizens, members of the workforce, and consumers in a competent and ethical manner” (BMBF, 2015, p. 2).
Tax literacy is one integral part of economic literacy that has not yet been thoroughly researched yet. Therefore, this project builds on previous research in the field of economic literacy and economic competence. There are several definitions of economic literacy or economic competence (“ökonomische Kompetenz”), which can be seen as a similar concept within the German research area (Schlösser & Schuhen, 2011 p. 6). Schumann, Oepke and Eberle (2011, p. 55) in accordance with various other authors (Baethge et al., 2006; Wuttke, 2008) define economic competence as economic knowledge, a prerequisite for solving economic problems, interest in economic problems as well as the motivation to solve them and attitudes and values to be able to responsibly deal with the problems.
Thus, three major areas of interest for research within economic competence can be derived:
- cognitive aspects related to economic content,
- motivational-affective aspects and
- behavioural aspects towards individual and societal well-being.
The main goal of this research project is to study these three areas as well as their interrelationships among students from commercial colleges in Austria. Therefore, the following research questions will be answered:
- What tax-related knowledge, conceptions and misconceptions do students of commercial colleges in Austria have? (interview study)
- What knowledge, attitudes, social norms and perceived behavioral control concerning taxation do students of commercial colleges in Austria have? (quantitative study)
- What interest concerning taxation do students of commercial colleges in Austria show? (quantitative study)
- What behavioral intentions towards tax compliance do the students show? (quantitative study)
- Which relationships can be found between the different factors constituting tax literacy as well as demographic variables? (quantitative study)
Within this project factual, conceptual and procedural knowledge (Krathwohl, 2002, p. 214) within the field of taxation is relevant. Furthermore, this project will focus on knowledge that is needed when acting as an economic citizen, a member of the workforce or a consumer (Remmele, 2016, p. 22f). Interest is defined as individual interest, that is enduring and related to knowledge and performance (Renninger et al., 2014, p. 7). The theoretical base for the relationship between attitude and behavior is the theory of planned behavior by Ajzen (1991). Kirchler & Wahl (2010, p. 333) detected four different behavioral intentions from existing literature, which can be measured through the tax compliance inventory: TAX-I. The behavioral intentions for compliance can be voluntary or enforced. The intentions underlying non-compliance are tax avoidance or tax evasion.
Since problem-centered interviews on the conceptions and misconceptions of the students (research question one) have already been conducted and analyzed, these results will be presented. The quantitative study is currently in its pre-test phase.
Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. Organizational behavior and human decision processes, 50(2), 179-211. Baethge, M., Achtenhagen, F., Arends, L., Babic, E., Baethge-Kinsky, V. & Weber, S. (2006). Berufsbildungs-Pisa. Machbarkeitsstudie. Stuttgart: Steiner. Bierhoff, H.-W. (2006). Sozialpsychologie: Ein Lehrbuch: W. Kohlhammer Verlag. BMBF (2015). General Decree on the cross-curricular principle of economic and consumer education. Retrieved from https://www.bmb.gv.at/ministerium/rs/2015_15_en.pdf?51qvsg. Greimel-Fuhrmann, B. (2012/13). „Don’t Know Much about Economics and Business.“ Economic und Financial Literacy als wesentliche, jedoch vernachlässigte Bildungsziele. WissenPlus, 13(4), I-VIII. Kirchler, E. (2007). The economic psychology of tax behaviour. Cambridge University Press. Kirchler, E. & Wahl, I. (2010). Tax compliance inventory TAX-I: Designing an inventory for surveys of tax compliance. Journal of Economic Psychology, 31(3), 331-346. Krathwohl, D. R. (2002). A revision of Bloom's taxonomy: An overview. Theory into practice, 41(4), 212-218. Lamnek, S. (1995). Qualitative Sozialforschung. Bd. 2: Methoden und Techniken (Vol. 3. Auflage). Weinheim, München: Beltz. Marton, F. (1981). Phenomenography—describing conceptions of the world around us. Instructional science, 10(2), 177-200. Osborne, R. J. & Gilbert, J. K. (1980). A technique for exploring students' views of the world. Physics Education, 15(6), 376. Renninger, A., Hidi, S. & Krapp, A. (2014). The role of interest in learning and development: Psychology Press. Remmele, B. (2016). Was sie umfassen und wie man sie misst. Ökonomische Kompetenzen. DIE Zeitschrift für Erwachsenenbildung(1), 22-25. Schlösser, H. J. & Schuhen, M. (2011 ). Ökonomische Grundbildung. Siegener Beiträge zur Ökonomischen Bildung 4/2011 Schumann, S., Oepke, M. & Eberle, F. (2011). Über welche ökonomischen Kompetenzen verfügen Maturandinnen und Maturanden? Hintergrund, Fragestellungen, Design und Methode des Schweizer Forschungsprojekts OEKOMA im Überblick. In U. Faßhauer, J. Aff, B. Fürstenau & E. Wuttke (Eds.), Lehr-Lernforschung und Professionalisierung. Perspektiven der Berufsbildungsforschung (pp. 51-63). Opladen: Farmington Hills. Stigler, G. J. (1970). The case, if any, for economic literacy. The Journal of Economic Education, 1(2), 77-85. Wuttke, E. (2008). Zur Notwendigkeit der Integration ökonomischer Bildung in die Allgemeinbildung und in die Lehrerbildung. In D. Bolscho & K. Hauenschild (Eds.), Ökonomische Bildung mit Kindern und Jugendlichen (pp. 133-144). Frankfurt a. M: Peter Lang. Witzel, A. (2000). The problem-centered interview. Paper presented at the Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung/Forum: Qualitative Social Research.
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