Credit: Hector Lazo https://www.flickr.com/photos/hector-lazo/3725846034/
Public Opinion Survey on Taxes and Public Safety in Mexico
This nationally representative public opinion survey was conducted in Mexico in 2013. The questionnaire was administered face-to-face to a probability-based sample of 1300 adults at their homes. The questions focus on attitudes toward taxation and public safety, as well as demographic characteristics of respondents.
This data has come out of the ICTD funded project, 'Building Support for Taxation in Developing Countries with Security Challenges: Experimental Evidence from Mexico' undertaken by Gustavo Flores-Macías, PhD, Assistant Professor of Government at Cornell University.
In spite of the importance of taxation for political and economic development, we know relatively little about the conditions under which citizens might not exact a political cost on leaders for adopting a particular tax. Drawing on insights from the literature on institutional design, this article examines how certain features of taxes – such as allowing for civil society oversight, sunset provisions that make the duration of taxes finite, and earmark mechanisms that direct tax revenue for a specific purpose – affect political support behind them. It also evaluates the role of three important aspects of the fiscal exchange, namely trust in government, perceptions of the public good, and level of income. Based on an original survey experiment focusing on the provision of public safety in Mexico, I find that these design features increase political support for taxation, especially among those with low trust in government, perceptions of high quality of the public good, and low income. These findings have important implications for Mexico, as well as a number of other countries that have both low levels of extraction and increased public spending imperatives.