Map showing tax-to-GDP ratios of countries

The Government Revenue Dataset

Date:
Dataset

An updated version of the UNU-WIDER Government Revenue Dataset (GRD) has been released in August 2021. The update includes the latest available tax and revenue data for 196 countries, providing a complete picture of government revenue and tax trends over time and allowing for analysis at the country, regional, or cross-country level. The primary data file (core dataset) is available for download in two formats and can be downloaded from UNU-WIDER, which now hosts and updates the GRD.

The GRD contains data on a range of policy-relevant indicators, allowing for analysis of revenue and tax trends over time at the regional or country level. Where possible, figures are also expressed both inclusive and exclusive of natural resource revenues, which helps to overcome a major obstacle to cross-country comparisons in existing data sources.

With the new update, the dataset covers the period from 1980—2019 (or —2020 where available), so for most countries there is four decades’ worth of observations available for analysis. The latest version of the database allows more flexibility for analysis by country income classification (low-income, lower-middle-income, upper-middle-income and high-income), as the historical World Bank Income Group classification has now been included in the Excel and Stata versions.

To accompany the new release, UNU-WIDER is also releasing two technical notes on data source selection and the composition of each variable in the dataset. A third technical note summarising country-specific information and guidance will be published later in 2021.

Further information about the GRD, including the User Guide and additional documents, are available on the UNU-WIDER website.

Interactive Data Visualisation tool

The data can be accessed online through the GRD Explorer tool, which allows users to compare countries, regions, and indicators as well as to visualize the data, or by download in Stata and Excel formats.

Background

The past decade has seen dramatically increased attention to questions related to taxation and revenue in developing countries, from both policymakers and researchers. However, the quality of available cross-country tax and revenue data has remained seriously deficient, potentially leading to highly flawed research results and misplaced policy advice. The ICTD GRD was created and launched in September 2014 by the ICTD at the Center for Global Development, Washington D.C. The goal was to provide a solid basis for more reliable, and comparable, cross-country tax research.

It was accompanied by a series of Working Papers demonstrating the value of the new data in updating, and in sometimes significantly altering, existing research findings. A summary of that work has been published in World Development. The following are the first Working Papers that employed the GRD:

1. Foreign Aid and Domestic Taxation: Multiple Sources, One Conclusion (ICTD Working Paper 20)

2. Aid and Taxation: Exploring the Relationship Using New Data (ICTD Working Paper 21)

3. Tax Structures, Economic Growth and Development (ICTD Working Paper 22)

4. Taxation, Non-Tax Revenue and Democracy: New Evidence Using New Cross-Country Data (ICTD Working Paper 23)

5. Electoral Competitiveness, Political Budget Cycles and Taxation in Developing Countries (ICTD Working Paper 24)

Using the GRD

Please cite the dataset as UNU-WIDER Government Revenue Dataset’. Version 2021. https://doi.org/10.35188/UNU-WIDER/GRD-2021 

Image credit: © Government Revenue Dataset Explorer

Download Datasets

Government Revenue Dataset
Download