Ewen Gallic: ewen.gallic[at]univ-amu.fr
Avner Seror: avner.seror[at]univ-amu.fr
Does historically rooted trust explain individuals' compliance with government regulations? To evaluate this central question, we examine the effect of historical Habsburg rule on contemporary levels of public trust and a variety of compliance outcomes. We conducted online surveys in Northern Italy and Austria to gauge compliance behavior over a range of outcomes, such as bribery, tax evasion, and COVID-19 related restrictions. For tax compliance, we introduce a novel incentivized behavioral choice in the survey -- signing up for pre-paid expert tax consultation vs. receiving an Amazon gift card -- that elicits revealed preference for tax compliance. We demonstrate that higher levels of public trust have a positive impact on compliance behavior, using the long-gone borders of the Habsburg empire.