The Oxford Handbook of the Politics of Development Chapter 13

In The Oxford Handbook of the Politics of Development, two of America’s leading political scientists on the issue, Carol Lancaster and Nicolas van de Walle, have assembled an international cast of leading scholars to craft a broad, state-of-the-art work on this vitally important topic.

Chapter 13, written by Mick Moore, explores the impact of taxation on politics and development, especially in developing countries. It begins by explaining the revenues and regimes paradigm, which is based on the notion that state revenue (sources, levels or needs) has a profound influence on politics and governance institutions. In particular, it examines whether and in what ways government revenues shape political institutions and patterns of governance. The chapter considers a number of critiques and concerns regarding the revenues and regimes paradigm and outlines alternative perspectives. It then asks why governments tax, how they collect taxes, and what determines levels of tax collection. The chapter concludes by analyzing whether tax-collection performance indicates “state capacity.”