The Journal of Development Studies Vol. 0, No. 0, 1–16

While much knowledge is being generated on the impact of the pandemic, we still know very little on its implications on taxation in lower-income countries. Yet, tax is crucial to fund crisis response and recovery, in addition to broader development plans and expanded government expenditure. This paper starts addressing this gap using an unique dataset of survey data from Rwanda. We document two significant shifts in taxpayers’ views during the pandemic: perceptions about the fairness of the tax system improve by 40 per cent, and their attitudes to compliance become more conditional on the provision of public services of sufficiently good quality. We put these results in the broader context of crisis response. We show that they are not simply linked to individual experiences of the crisis or access to relief, but they are more likely linked to generalised improvements in solidarity and patriotism.


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.

Fabrizio Santoro

Fabrizio is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, and the Research Lead for the second component of the ICTD's DIGITAX Research Programme. His main research interests relate to governance, public finance, and taxation, with a strong focus on impact evaluation methodologies and statistical analysis. He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Sussex.
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