Project Researchers: Lily Tsai, Leah Rosenzweig & Nicole Wilson

Theories of voluntary tax compliance focus on the notion of a fiscal contract between citizens and the state, in which citizens pay taxes and the government provides public services, infrastructure, or something else in return. In Lagos, Nigeria, the link between taxes and public goods is salient to many citizens, in part due to campaigns by the state government emphasizing the payoffs of tax payments. But what are the terms of this fiscal contract? How do citizens evaluate whether the state is holding up its end of the bargain? We expect that the motivation for paying taxes differs based on class status, with poorer residents rewarding public services and wealthier residents rewarding economic growth. This project aims to understand what underlies public support for taxation and willingness to comply and how essential this is if policy-makers hope to expand the tax base and keep enforcement costs low by stimulating voluntary compliance.