Universiteit Leiden

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Moralities of Taxes in The Netherlands

The Dutch tax administration (Belastingdienst) needs to know how tax payers experience and evaluate the Dutch tax administration. What do people think of their services?

 How do people’s tax morales (the motivation to pay taxes) differ and does this change? To what extent do people trust the tax administration and for which reasons are they willing to comply with tax legislation? Questions such as these focus on the legitimacy and functioning of taxes in The Netherlands and are measured in an annual survey and presented, by the Belastingdienst, in the Fiscale Monitor.

Adding qualitative research

The Dutch tax administration would like to add qualitative research to their annual measurements in order to improve the Fiscale Monitor. For example by asking different questions, by developing new categories that reveal the lifeworld and experiences of specific groups of tax payers, or by innovate or finetune qualitative research methods. The research internship aims to uncover hitherto overlooked aspects in the complexity of people’s experiences and to lead to recommendations to the Dutch tax administration.


During the writing of your Research Proposal you (and your supervisor) will have a meeting with experts at the Dutch tax administration and discuss with them their challenges and practical problems, which will help you to develop your research question and approach. There will be a second meeting in the final phase of your fieldwork, when you will present your findings to experts that are involved in the Fiscale Monitor.

Economic Anthropology

You are expected to have an interest in economic anthropology; you are interested to further explore how money - especially tax - works out in everyday life. You are interested in understanding how complex organizational procedures work out in the everyday life of tax payers. You will use the Fiscale Monitor as a starting point for your research together with the Dutch tax administration, identify a specific group of tax payers among whom you will be doing fieldwork. Dutch language proficiency is mandatory.

Immersive Learning Experience

This internship offers a unique opportunity to work in a team with experts and fellow students, to contribute to methodological innovations, to gain expertise on the making of society through fiscal relationships and to study the often polarizing political and academic debates regarding the moralities of the economy and the state.

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