The ICTD Government Revenue Dataset (ICTD GRD)  – the result of a 3-year project – was formally launched on the 9th of September 2014, in Washington DC, at a high-level roundtable event that was organised in partnership with the Centre for Global Development (CGD).

The event attracted about 41 participants who are senior officials from various international organisations, including the World Bank, IMF, OECD and UNCTAD among others.

The ICTD GRD is a composite dataset built by compiling and harmonising numerous existing datasets from various sources. The dataset also involves extensive manual cleaning to address cross-country differences in the recording of natural resource revenues, in order to generate more accurate tax revenue data series that are distinct from natural resource revenues.

“…one of the strongest components and contributions of the ICTD GRD, is the disaggregation of tax and non-tax revenue as well as resource revenues from non-resource revenues. In that case, the ICTD has done a great job,” said Sanjeev Gupta, the Deputy Director in the Fiscal Affairs Department at the IMF.

Over the last decade the issue of taxation has benefited from a growing interest from researchers and policy makers especially in developing countries. However, the weakness of available data has been a major obstacle to cross-country research on the role of revenue and taxation in development.

The ICTD Government Revenue Dataset was therefore built to expand the coverage and the quality of revenue data. This dataset is more accurate and complete, and represents significant enhancement, which will enable for deeper and more accurate research and improve our understanding of taxation and its effect on economies.

“….this dataset will therefore allow the international organisations to see their collective weaknesses and work together, as this will go a long way in helping not only with research, but also policymaking,” said Jocelyn Pierre, the Advisor, Centre for Tax Policy and Administration at the OECD.

One recurring point at the launch was that indeed the limitation of official data would not go away quickly, hence a major focus would now be turned on regional and national institutions to improve the accuracy of original data. There are many other institutions working on similar datasets as the ICTD GRD, hence talks about institutionalising a data-working group on revenue dataset, to complement the process and avoid duplication of efforts.

“…though the interest in data has increased and that the ICTD GRD helps provide such information, the limitation of official data will not go away quickly, hence a need for a global database that allows for comparability across countries, which currently does not exist,” said Claudia Dziobek, Division Chief, Government Finance Statistics at the IMF.

The new ICTD Government Revenue Dataset is now publicly available and can be accessed here.

The related working papers can be accessed here.

All the presentations can be found here

A full report from the launch can be downloaded here.