Showing 1 - 12 of 36 publications
September 2022

Mobile Money Taxation and Informal Workers: Evidence from Ghana’s E-Levy

by Nana Akua Anyidoho, Max Gallien, Mike Rogan & Vanessa van den Boogaard

In recent years, governments in lower-income countries have increasingly introduced specific taxes on mobile money transfers as a means to raise revenue. These are often explicitly promoted as a way of taxing informal economic activity, but critics have noted their potential negative impact on lower-income groups. Ghana’s electronic transfer levy (E-levy), introduced in May 2022,…

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August 2022

Do tax policies discriminate against female traders? A gender framework to study informal marketplaces in Nigeria

by Imaobong Akpan & Ma Josep Cascant-Sempere

Scholars have long debated formalizing the informal sector through taxation, but how do these processes affect gender inequalities? Our study in Nigerian markets contributes a gender framework to the equitable taxation literature on formalization. The study draws on a survey of 451 traders in 12 markets, key informant interviews, and ethnographic research in four markets…

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No smoking gun: tobacco taxation and smuggling in Sierra Leone

by Giovanni Occhiali & Max Gallien

Objective To evaluate the common industry claim that higher tobacco taxation leads to higher levels of smuggling, particularly in a limited state capacity setting. Design This paper evaluates the effects of a tobacco tax increase in Sierra Leone on smuggling by using gap analyses. Its models are based on multiple rounds of the Demographic and…

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Tax obsessions: Taxpayer registration and the informal sector in sub-Saharan Africa

by Mick Moore

Motivation There are three puzzling features of sub-Saharan African tax systems: tax administrations maintain records on vast numbers of small enterprises that actually provide no revenue; they continually invest resources into registering even more of these “unproductive taxpayers”; and discussions about taxing small enterprises are framed by the ambiguous, misleading concept of the “informal sector”….

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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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February 2022

Taliban Taxation in Afghanistan: (2006-2021)

by Rahmatullah Amiri & Ashley Jackson

Before taking control of Afghanistan in August 2021, the Taliban had developed a remarkably state-like revenue collection system throughout the country. This ICTD research explores how that came to be, and what factors shaped the various forms of Taliban taxation. Drawing primarily on fieldwork from Helmand, Ghazni and Kunduz provinces, this paper explores in depth…

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December 2021

The Routledge Handbook of Smuggling

by Max Gallien & Florian Weigand

The Routledge Handbook of Smuggling offers a comprehensive survey of interdisciplinary research related to smuggling, reflecting on key themes, and charting current and future trends. Divided into six parts and spanning over 30 chapters, the volume covers themes such as mobility, borders, violent conflict, and state politics, as well as looks at the smuggling of…

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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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