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An evaluation of three definitions of patriotism

Political Psychology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Although it seems reasonable to assume that activating patriotism might motivate citizens to cooperate with the state in reaching societal goals, the empirical evidence supporting this contention is based mostly on correlational rather than experimental studies.

This current article reports results of one survey and three experiments that manipulate patriotism by displaying either a national flag or national landscapes or by priming national achievements. The outcomes indicate that reported and manipulated patriotism indirectly increase tax compliance, although the national flag also increases nationalism. National achievements, on the other hand, seemingly increases trust in national public institutions and the voluntary motivation to cooperate, whereas national landscapes only increase the voluntary motivation to cooperate.

Patriotism's Impact on Cooperation with the State: An Experimental Study on Tax Compliance

Hence, it is possible to increase social capital in the form of trust and cooperation through patriotism without fostering nationalism as well. Surprisingly, however, no experiments were conducted showing the positive impact of patriotism on cooperation. Although there are several experiments analyzing whether national symbols such as the flag generate patriotism rather than destructive nationalism e. Yet insights into the effects of promotional patriotic tools would not only enhance theoretical understanding of patriotism and its effects but might also allow public institutions to choose the most effective communication instruments for enhancing cooperation of citizens by patriotism and not nationalism.

Theoretical Background and Research Questions

This present study, therefore, uses the results of one survey and three experiments to test for an effect of three common patriotism promoting tools—the national flag, national achievements, and national landscapes—on cooperation with the state in the form of tax compliance. It also assesses whether the impact of such tools on tax cooperation is direct or indirect via increased trust an evaluation of three definitions of patriotism tax authorities and voluntary motivation to cooperate.

For instance, shared identity can easily be manipulated experimentally by asking participants to express a preference for the paintings of either Paul Klee or Wassily Kandinsky Tajfel et al.

As a consequence, these participants tend to identify more with others that share their painter preference who they subsequently reward more and punish less than participants with a different painter preference. Participants in these experiments are also willing to maximizing the difference between ingroup and outgroup members at the price of deliberately disadvantaging the outgroup Tajfel, 1974 ; Tajfel et al. Hence, increased cooperation with one's own group often goes along with deliberate discrimination of an outgroup.

Patriotism reflects a psychological state of love for and pride in one's country and its community, whereas nationalism reflects a belief that one's own country should dominate and discriminate against other countries and their citizens Federico et al.

Patriotism, in principle based on positive evaluations of the own nation, however, does not exclude or even demand criticism of the own community if the community does not meet certain standards Federico et al. However, the two are not necessarily reciprocally related Brewer, 1999 and hence, might be activated independently from each other Mummendey et al. According to experimental survey data from several countries, patriotism is activated by comparing one's own country's present with its past or by evaluating it without any explicit comparative standard or rational explanation Mummendey et al.

In contrast, nationalism tends to be activated when individuals are asked to compare their own country with other countries. These studies also show that thinking about national achievements as a comparison between past and present compared to thinking about differences between the own country and other countries does not lead to derogation of outgroup members like foreigners Mummendey et al.

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A reason might be that local patriotism in contrast to national patriotism is more dynamic concerning historical and geographical development Raagmaa, 2010a characteristic which might prevent immutable views and discrimination of outgroup members. For example, an analysis of World Value Survey WVS data from 45 countries suggests that those who are proud to be members of their own community show more trust in other people and contribute to a society's social capital by such responsible behaviors as not claiming unjustified government benefits, not buying stolen goods, and not lying in their own interests Whiteley, 1999.

Admittedly, the very large samples in these studies e. Nevertheless, no experimental evidence exists for a causal impact of patriotism on cooperation, and none of the existing studies analyze the psychological processes that might mediate the relation between patriotism and tax compliance. That is, the more citizens identify with their state and community, the more they should trust state authorities seeing them as benevolent and dedicated to the common good, and the more citizens should be motivated to voluntarily pay their taxes Kirchler et al.

Both experimental and nonexperimental research suggests that a shared identity leads to an evaluation of others as trustworthy Tyler, 2001 ; Voci, 2006 and indicates that trust an evaluation of three definitions of patriotism tax authorities fuels individual voluntary motivation and willingness to pay them Kogler et al.

Hence, based on both the slippery slope framework and existing empirical data, patriotism's impact is likely to be based on an indirect psychological process that fuels trust in the tax authorities, generates voluntary motivation to cooperate, and thereby increases cooperation.

The present study analyses the results of one survey and three experiments to determine whether typical patriotism promoting tools like the national flag, national achievements, and national landscapes lead to patriotism or nationalism. To ensure results with high external validity, the study data were collected from field settings in which government institutions would typically use promotional tools to promote tax compliance—for example, the business sections of newspapers.

The remainder of the article is organized as follows: Survey Sample Our sample was made up of 84 Austrians, the majority of whom were male 66. Most participants had a university degree 33. Patriotism was assessed as national and local patriotism, based on national pride and identification with the local community.

The questionnaire also collected sociodemographic data, including citizenship, sex, age, education, occupation, income, and experience with tax authorities. Procedure To recruit participants, we posted an invitation to take part in a survey on the financial decision making of individuals currently living in Austria on the business discussion forums of eight Austrian newspapers.

Those who followed the link were redirected to an online questionnaire structured in four sections: The first asked participants to indicate their citizenship. The third and final sections collected the sociodemographic characteristics, after which participants were given an opportunity to leave comments and were thanked for their participation. The results, reported in Table 1show no direct link between national pride, identification with the local community, nationalism, and tax compliance.

  1. There is no morality as such; morality is always the morality of a particular community. There is no great difference between special affection and love, and Nathanson himself uses the terms interchangeably.
  2. We owe our country our life, our education, our language, and, in the most fortunate cases, our liberty.
  3. The first asked participants to indicate their citizenship. But the objection is pertinent, and has considerable force, when brought up against the type of patriotism advocated by MacIntyre.
  4. The first asked participants to indicate their citizenship. But there is no single reason common to all or even most of them.
  5. A related objection is that patriotism is exclusive in invidious and dangerous ways.