Volume 69 Number 2

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 impact of this intervention on compliance behaviour. We find that friendly approaches, and especially a simple reminder of deadlines, are more effective than deterrence. We also provide suggestive evidence that deterrence messages produce a backfiring effect amongst higher-income taxpayers, while they have the expected effect for the rest.


Giulia Mascagni

Giulia Mascagni is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies and Research Director of the ICTD. Her main area of work is taxation, but she also has research interest in public finance, evaluation of public policy, and aid effectiveness. She is an economist by training, holding a PhD in Economics from the University of Sussex. Her main geographical interest lies in African countries, with a particular focus on Ethiopia and Rwanda.

Christopher Nell

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