Tax Collection and Bureaucrat Accountability: Experimental Evidence from the DRC
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.