Taxation is thought to stimulate participation and accountable governance. This project examines how tax collection affects local bureaucrat performance in the DRC. We exploit random variation in whether local bureaucrats known as avenue chiefs were responsible for property tax collection (treatment), or whether agents of the tax ministry collected taxes within chief jurisdictions instead (control). We measure the accountability of local chiefs by measuring how they allocate antipoverty benefits in their community. The resulting distribution of antipoverty benefits enables us to precisely measure leakage, bureaucrat quality, and the local politics of government aid. We will cross-randomize an information intervention informing local citizens about the antipoverty program to determine if an effect reflects chiefs’ sense of personal accountability, or citizens’ efforts to demand their share.


Laura Paler

Augustin Bergeron

Augustin Bergeron is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Southern California. His research lies at the intersection of development economics, public economics and political economy.

Gabriel Tourek

Gabriel Tourek is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Pittsburgh. His research focuses on the development of fiscal and state capacity, and the equity of taxes and transfers in low-income countries.

Jonathan L Weigel

Jonathan Weigel is an Assistant Professor in the Business and Public Policy Group at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. His research interests lie at the intersection of political economy, development and public economics.