Taxation, governance and growth

Historically, tax research has been dominated by two questions: how to enhance revenue collection in order to finance redistribution and public goods and services, and how to design tax policy to strengthen incentives for economic growth (Joshi et al. 2014; Moore 2013).  However, the past decade has witnessed surging interests in a third possibility: that…» more

Tax administrations and capacity building: A collective challenge


Tax cooperation has now reached unprecedented levels. Much work has been and is being done to assist developing countries in building their tax capacity. In February 2016 the the IMF, OECD, UN and World Bank proposed to the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors that they develop a joint tax platform and recommend mechanisms to ensure effective implementation of ...» more

Linkages between taxation and stability

Tax reform agendas have traditionally focused on increasing public revenue in an economically efficient manner. However, Prichard (2010) argues that there is a case for linking revenue enhancement more explicitly to broader governance objectives. It should be noted that increased domestic revenue generation will only lead to improved development outcomes if the new revenue is ...» more

Looking forward: broader messages, policy lessons and directions for future research

Wilson Prichard

Taxation, responsiveness and accountability provides the most complete treatment of the connections between taxation and accountability in developing countries. Drawing on cross-country econometric evidence and detailed case studies from Ghana, Kenya and Ethiopia, the book shows that reliance on taxation has, in fact, increased responsiveness and accountability by expanding the ...» more

Political economy of citizenship regimes: Tax in India and Brazil

Aaron Schneider

Both Brazil and India have deepened their democracies over recent years, but with different impacts on state capacity. This paper evaluates changes to state capacity in both countries by looking at the political economy of citizenship regimes and tax. It finds that the distinct evolution of revenues and other policies reflects changes in each country’s citizenship ...» more

Designing and monitoring PFM reform programmes

The PEFA framework is the most comprehensive assessment instrument. It provides indicators to measure all dimensions of a PFM system. While PEFA assessments are now in wide usage, other diagnostic instruments and tools – like the IMF Fiscal Transparency Code and various World Bank and OECD tools – are used alongside them for more specific purposes. Alternatively, ...» more

Tax reform

Tax reform can reduce tax evasion and avoidance, and allow for more efficient and fair tax collection that can finance public goods and services. It can make revenue levels more sustainable, and can promote future independence from foreign aid and natural resource revenues. There is increasing recognition of taxation’s role in state-building, in addition to greater ...» more

Taxation, Redistribution and the Social Contract in Brazil

Marcus Melo, Armando Barrientos, André Coelho

This paper examines the political and political economy factors explaining Brazil’s success in raising tax revenue and assesses its contribution to a Brazilian ‘Development Model’. The recent rise in tax/GDP ratio in Brazil raises several intriguing questions. First, there is substantive macroeconomic and fiscal policy continuity since the mid-1990s, with fiscal stability ...» more

Fragile States 2014: Domestic Revenue Mobilisation in Fragile States


What financial resources are available to fragile states – internationally and domestically – to fund their development? What role does aid play? What can be done to close the gaps in resources for development? This report looks at these questions, highlighting the need to focus more on domestic revenue generation as a source of state revenue, and also as a cornerstone of ...» more

Africa’s Willing Taxpayers Thwarted by Opaque Tax Systems, Corruption

Rose Aiko, Carolyn Logan

Findings from this paper suggest that governments need to improve the transparency and accountability of revenue authorities if they want to strengthen the foundations of a sound revenue system.Survey data, covering 29 countries in sub-Saharan Africa reveal widespread citizen commitment to the principle of taxation and to taking responsibility – by paying their taxes – for ...» more

Africa rising? Inequalities and the essential role of fair taxation

Claire Kumar

After a decade of high growth, a new narrative of optimism has taken hold about Africa and its economic prospects. Alongside buoyant growth rates, there has been some poverty reduction and some positive progress in sectors such as health and education. However, despite this, there is a broad consensus that progress in human development has been limited given the volume of ...» more

Obstacles to Increasing Tax Revenues in Low Income Countries

Mick Moore

Why do the governments of low income countries not raise more tax revenues? Two different but complementary approaches are used to answer it. The first approach is comparisons: among countries today, and within countries over time. This approach tends to generate relatively conservative answers to the central question. It leads to an emphasis on the ‘sticky’ nature of the ...» more

Taxation and Livelihoods: A Review of the Evidence from Fragile and Conflict-Affected Rural Areas

Oliver Lough, Richard Mallett, Paul Harvey

This literature review notes that the evidence base on tax and livelihoods in low-income rural areas – particularly those affected by fragility and conflict – is extremely thin. However, the evidence it reviews suggests that, in many developing country contexts, a variety of forms of taxation take place at once. These involve multiple actors, operate at formal and informal ...» more

Taxation and Development: A Review of Donor Support to Strengthen Tax Systems in Developing Countries

Odd-Helge Fjeldstad

This paper reviews the state of knowledge on aid and tax reform in developing countries, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Four main issues are addressed: (1) impacts of donor assistance to strengthen tax systems, including what has worked, or not, and why; (2) challenges in ‘scaling up’ donor efforts; (3) how to best provide assistance to reform tax systems; and ...» more

Peoples’ views of taxation in Africa: A review of research on determinants of tax compliance

Odd-Helge Fjeldstad, Collette Schulz-Herzenberg, Ingrid Hoem Sjursen

What are the key determinants of taxpayer compliance? And which features of citizen state relations govern attitudes and behaviour regarding taxation? This paper examines the analytical foundation, methodological approaches and key findings of available empirical literature on taxpayer behaviour in Africa. Understanding how citizens perceive and experience taxation may provide ...» more

Examples of successful fuel subsidy removal

Where fuel prices are controlled and subsidised by the government, price increases have often met with broad public opposition and, in some cases, violent demonstration. Where governments have been successful they have needed to ensure that reform was politically feasible and the impact on influential groups was mitigated. There are a number of countries which have instituted ...» more

Citizen-State Relations: Improving Governance Through Tax Reform

Wilson Prichard

How can tax reform enhance citizen-state relations? This report examines the role of taxation in building more responsive and accountable government, and in expanding state capacity. It finds that the specific character of tax systems and of tax reform is very important to strengthening connections between taxation and broader governance gains. Governments and donors can ...» more

Taxation, Fiscal Decentralisation and Legitimacy: The Role of Semi-Autonomous Tax Agencies in Peru

Christian von Haldenwang

Can semi-autonomous tax agencies play a role in strengthening the effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy of decentralised tax systems? This article analyses semi-autonomous tax agencies in nine Peruvian cities. It shows that the Servicios de Administración Tributaria (SAT) collect local taxes and non-tax revenues more effectively than conventional tax administrations. ...» more

Taxation, Resource Mobilisation and State Performance

Jonathan Di John

How do patterns of taxation affect state capacity and production? What is the relationship between elite bargains and taxation patterns? How do aid flows and multilateral donor reforms affect statebuilding? This paper examines the political economy of taxation in a range of countries. It argues that the process of tax collection is a powerful lens through which to assess power ...» more

Taxation and State Building: Towards a Governance Focused Tax Reform Agenda

Wilson Pritchard

How can tax reform support statebuilding and improve governance? This paper argues that particular reforms within the tax system can generate significant gains in state capacity and trigger the expansion of responsive and accountable government. Development agencies should focus more on the political economy of taxation. They should move beyond technocratic reforms towards an ...» more