Showing 1 - 12 of 27 publications
March 2022

Co-financing community-driven development through informal taxation: Evidence from south-central Somalia

by Vanessa van den Boogaard & Fabrizio Santoro

Community contributions are often required as part of community-driven development programs, with contributions encouraged through matching grants. However, little remains known about the impact of matching grants or the implications of requiring community contributions—also known as informal taxation. We explore this research gap through a randomized control trial of a matching grant program in Gedo…

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March 2022

Tax and Governance in the Context of Scarce Revenues: Inefficient Tax Collection and its Implications in Rural West Africa

by Vanessa van den Boogaard & Rachel Beach

In recent years, domestic and international policy attention has often focused on broadening the tax base in order to include a greater share of the population in the ‘tax net’. This is based, in part, on the hope that the expansion of taxation will result in positive ‘governance dividends’ for taxpayers. However, the implications of…

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January 2022

Enabling Tax Bargaining: Supporting More Meaningful Tax Transparency and Taxpayer Engagement in Ghana and Sierra Leone

by Vanessa van den Boogaard, Wilson Prichard, Rachel Beach & Fariya Mohiuddin

While there is increasing evidence that taxation can contribute to greater government responsiveness and accountability, such positive outcomes are not guaranteed. If the environment does not enable tax bargaining, there is a risk that taxation will amount to little more than enforced extraction. We consider how such enabling environments may be fostered and identify specific…

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December 2021

Informal Workers and the State: The Politics of Connection and Disconnection During a Global Pandemic

by Max Gallien & Vanessa van den Boogaard

In low- and middle-income countries, informal workers are particularly vulnerable to the health and economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and often neglected by policy responses. At the same time, the crisis is rapidly changing the ways that states engage with informal workers. We argue that the relationships between informal workers and states – and…

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November 2021

Beyond Greed: Why Armed Groups Tax

by Tanya Bandula-Irwin, Max Gallien, Ashley Jackson, Vanessa van den Boogaard & Florian Weigand

Armed groups tax. Journalistic accounts often include a tone of surprise about this fact, while policy reports tend to strike a tone of alarm, highlighting the link between armed group taxation and ongoing conflict. Policymakers often focus on targeting the mechanisms of armed group taxation as part of their conflict strategy, often described as ‘following…

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October 2021

Co-Financing Community-Driven Development Through Informal Taxation: Experimental Evidence from South-Central Somalia

by Vanessa van den Boogaard & Fabrizio Santoro

Community-driven development (CDD) has long been embraced by international development partners as a means of delivering public goods and strengthening social capital and cohesion, particularly in fragile contexts. To receive external support, CDD projects often require co-financing from communities through informal taxes – non-market payments that are not required or defined by state law and…

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October 2021

Rethinking Formalisation: A Conceptual Critique and Research Agenda

by Max Gallien & Vanessa van den Boogaard

The concept of ‘formalisation’ has been ubiquitous in development discourse and policymaking in the early twenty-first century. It has underpinned policy interventions and proposals from tax registration to property titling, and a range of measures intended to connect informal entities with state institutions or formally structured markets. Despite the policy enthusiasm, however, the outcomes of…

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September 2021

Co-Financing Community-Driven Development Through Informal Taxation: Experimental Evidence from South-Central Somalia

by Vanessa van den Boogaard & Fabrizio Santoro

Community contributions are often required as part of community-driven development (CDD) programmes, with payment encouraged through matching grants. However, little remains known about the impact of matching grants, or the implications of requiring community contributions in order for communities to receive development funding. This paper describes research where we partner with two non-governmental organisations (NGOs)…

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April 2021

Taxing the Informal Economy is not a Silver Bullet for Financing Development – or the Covid-19 Recovery

by Max Gallien, Vanessa van den Boogaard & Mick Moore

This briefing explores the Covid-19 pandemic, which has raised twin challenges for public revenue around the world. Governments have undertaken huge expenses to finance medical responses and social protection programmes. At the same time, tax collection is decreasing as a consequence of both pandemic-related tax breaks and a dip in economic activity and trade. These…

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March 2021

Explaining Informal Taxation and Revenue Generation: Evidence from south-central Somalia

by Vanessa van den Boogaard & Fabrizio Santoro

Most people in low-income countries contribute substantially to the financing of local public goods through informal revenue generation (IRG). However, very little is known about how IRG works in practice. We produce novel evidence on the magnitude and regressivity of IRG and its relationship with the state in a fragile context, Somalia. We rely on…

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December 2020

Strengthening Tax-Accountability Links: Fiscal Transparency and Taxpayer Engagement in Ghana and Sierra Leone

by Vanessa van den Boogaard, Wilson Prichard, Rachel Beach & Fariya Mohiuddin

Taxation is high on the international development agenda, largely due to growing evidence that it can not only provide sustainable development funding, but also contribute to expanded responsiveness and accountability in government. This is because: (i) when forced to pay taxes citizens are more likely to feel ownership of government revenues, and demand benefits in…

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November 2020

Strengthening Tax-Accountability Links: Fiscal Transparency and Taxpayer Engagement in Ghana and Sierra Leone

by Vanessa van den Boogaard, Wilson Prichard, Rachel Beach & Fariya Mohiuddin

There is increasingly strong evidence that taxation can contribute to expanded government responsiveness and accountability. However, such positive connections are not guaranteed. Rather, they are shaped by the political and economic context and specific policies adopted by governments and civil society actors. Without an environment that enables tax bargaining, there is a risk that taxation…

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