Giulia Mascagni presents at the WIDER Seminar Series on 26 October 2022.

Tax compliance in Rwanda: evidence from two large scale field experiments


To succeed in their development efforts, governments of lower-income countries need sufficient revenue, most of which is generated domestically through taxation. Improving tax compliance is therefore key to any development strategy. Using two large-scale field experiments conducted in Rwanda in collaboration with the Rwanda Revenue Authority, this seminar explores how nudges can help governments affect taxpayer behaviour and increase tax revenue in real life. It also highlights important limitations of this approach, including backfiring effects amongst richer taxpayers and the nudges’ limited effectiveness on tax ghosts. Complementing the experimental evidence with qualitative interviews, the seminar also offers some reflections on the complexity of tax administration in low-capacity environments and illustrates some unintended consequences of seemingly sensible policies like “taxing the informal sector”.

About the speaker

Giulia Mascagni is Research Director at the International Centre for Taxation and Development (ICTD) and Research Fellow at the Institute for Development Studies (IDS). She is a development economist, and her research focuses on taxation in lower-income countries. She is Research Advisor to the Rwanda Revenue Authority, member of TADAT’s Technical Advisory Group, Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins University SAIS Europe, and Research Associate of the Institute of Fiscal Studies (UK).

WIDER Seminar Series

The WIDER Seminar Series showcases the latest research on key topics in development economics. It provides a forum for senior and early-career researchers, both in-house and external, to present recent and ongoing work related to UNU-WIDER’s current work programme.

In addition to providing a forum for both academic debate and training, the series presents an opportunity for policy makers and others interested in development to learn about the latest research methods and findings.

The Seminar Series events take place on Wednesdays. All those interested are invited to register and attend via Zoom.

Event Details
Past Event
26 October 2022
Helsinki, Finland