Showing 1 - 12 of 48 publications

Can ICTs increase tax compliance? Evidence on taxpayer responses to technological innovation in Ethiopia

by Giulia Mascagni, Andualem T. Mengistu & Firew B. Woldeyes

The widespread introduction of ICTs and digitised data management systems is one of the most important developments amongst African tax administrations in recent years. However, very little evidence is available on their effectiveness to increase compliance and on how taxpayers respond to these changes. This paper starts filling this gap by reporting three sets of…

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Fuel subsidy reform and the social contract in Nigeria: A micro-economic analysis

by Neil McCulloch, Tom Moerenhout & Joonseok Yang

Fuel subsidies in Nigeria are enormous – around USD 3.9 billion – almost double the health budget. Such subsidies come at great cost: the opportunity costs of such spending on other development objectives are large; the distribution of resources to the state governments is reduced; the vast majority of the subsidy goes to better off Nigerians; and…

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“An Unacceptable Surrender of Fiscal Sovereignty:” The Neoliberal Turn to International Tax Arbitration

by Martin Hearson & Todd Tucker

This article examines the growth of inequality over the past half century, which is closely connected to the rise of neoliberal policies and institutions and the latter of which shield capital from state actions that might limit wealth accumulation. Economic nationalism since the global financial crisis has slowed or even reversed this, yet this same…

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March 2021

Trade Tax Evasion and the Tax Rate: Evidence from Transaction-level Trade Data

by Andualem T Mengistu, Kiflu G Molla & Giulia Mascagni

This paper explores the relationship between tax rates and tax evasion in a low-income country context: Ethiopia. By using transaction-level administrative trade data, the authors are able to provide an analysis that is largely comparable with the rest of the literature while also introducing two important innovations. First, they compare the elasticity of evasion to…

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January 2021

Tax Compliance in Rwanda: Evidence from a Message Field Experiment

by Giulia Mascagni & Christopher Nell

In early 2016 the Rwanda Revenue Authority sent messages to 9,000 taxpayers, aimed to encourage compliance. Each taxpayer was randomly allocated to a treatment group, or to a control group that received no message. Treatment messages varied in terms of content (deterrence, fiscal exchange, reminder) and delivery method (letter, email, SMS). Our RCT evaluates the…

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August 2020

A Simplified Method for Taxing Multinationals for Developing Countries: Building on the ‘Amount B’ Proposal to Repair the Transactional Net Margin Method

by Michael C. Durst

This paper considers whether the ‘Amount B’ proposal currently being negotiated in the Inclusive Framework, for the attribution of fixed remuneration for the ‘routine’ distribution and marketing activities of MNE affiliates, may offer a useful template for the re-working of the widely used ‘transactional net margin’ transfer pricing method (TNMM). The TNMM has for years…

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August 2020

Building a Social Contract? Understanding Tax Morale in Nigeria

by Neil McCulloch, Tom Moerenhout & Joonseok Yang

An important part of every country’s development process is the building of a social contract in which citizens pay tax and, in turn, receive public goods and services. Evidence suggests that this is associated with the establishment of a norm of tax payment and a belief that non-payment is wrong. We exploit a new, nationally…

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Thick claims and thin rights: Taxation and the construction of analogue property rights in Lagos

by Tom Goodfellow & Olly Owen

The importance of tenure security for development and wellbeing is often reduced to questions about how titles can guarantee rights, overlooking the contested and layered nature of property rights themselves. We use the case of Lagos to analyse property rights as ‘analogue’ rather than ‘digital’ in nature – things that only exist by degree, where…

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January 2020

The Customer is King: Evidence on VAT Compliance in Tanzania

by Odd-Helge Fjeldstad, Cecilia Kagoma, Ephraim Mdee, Ingrid Hoem Sjursen & Vincent Somville

Value Added Tax (VAT) has emerged as one of the main modes of raising tax revenue worldwide, but has significantly underperformed as a revenue source in African countries. To improve compliance, Tanzania has introduced Electronic Fiscal Devices (EFDs), which automatically transmit information about business transactions to the tax administration. However, VAT collection has not improved…

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The New Politics of Global Tax Governance: Taking Stock a Decade After the Financial Crisis

by Rasmus Corlin Christensen & Martin Hearson

The financial crisis of 2007–2009 is now broadly recognised as a once-in-a-generation inflection point in the history of global economic governance. It has also prompted a reconsideration of established paradigms in international political economy (IPE) scholarship. Developments in global tax governance open a window onto these ongoing changes, and in this essay we discuss four…

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Tax, Politics, and the Social Contract in Africa

by Wilson Prichard

Though traditionally thought of as the preserve of technical experts—lawyers, economists and accountants—the study of taxation has recently attracted growing attention, with mounting recognition that taxation is fundamentally political, and lies near the core of the relationship between states and citizens. The first, and most common, question about the politics of taxation is: what are…

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April 2019

Colonial Legacy, State-building and the Salience of Ethnicity in Sub-Saharan Africa

by Merima Ali, Odd-Helge Fjeldstad, Boqian Jiang & Abdulaziz B Shifa

African colonial history suggests that British colonial rule may have undermined state centralisation due to legacies of ethnic segregation and stronger executive constraints. Using micro-data from anglophone and francophone countries in sub-Saharan Africa, we find that anglophone citizens are less likely to identify themselves in national terms (relative to ethnic terms). To address endogeneity concerns,…

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