Tax Boycotts

Tuesday March 30, 2021

Consumer boycotts are not a new concept. We have seen them in response to several social issues in the past few years. Boycotts in response to corporate tax planning are fairly novel. A noteworthy boycott of Starbucks in the U.K. in 2013 was first of its kind. Our Research Director, Jeff Hoopes, along with H. Scott Asay of the University of Iowa, Jacob R. Thornock of BYU, and Jaron H. Wilde of the University of Iowa look into this specific type of boycott. Their analysis focus on the frequency and impact of boycotts due to corporate tax planning. The researchers conducted a survey of U.S. consumers and found none of them had participated in a boycott because of a business’ tax practices. When looking at changes in consumer purchase behavior, little evidence of actual changes was found in response to tax news. In conclusion, the authors found that tax boycotts to be an ineffective response to corporate tax planning.