Taxation and State-Building in Developing Countries: Capacity and Consent

Authors: Deborah Brautigam, Odd-Helge Fjeldstad & Mick Moore (eds.)
Publisher: CMI
Date: January 2008


There is a widespread concern that, in some parts of the world, governments are unable to exercise effective authority. When governments fail, more sinister forces thrive: warlords, arms smugglers, narcotics enterprises, kidnap gangs, terrorist networks, armed militias. Why do governments fail? This book explores an old idea that has returned to prominence: that authority, effectiveness, accountability and responsiveness is closely related to the ways in which governments are financed. It matters that governments tax their citizens rather than live from oil revenues and foreign aid, and it matters how they tax them. Taxation stimulates demands for representation, and an effective revenue authority is the central pillar of state capacity. Using case studies from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America, this book presents and evaluates these arguments, updates theories derived from European history in the light of conditions in contemporary poorer countries, and draws conclusions for policy-makers.


• Explains why taxation is an important issue in relation to questions of ‘bad governance’
• Combines historical and theoretical context with detailed cases from around the world
• The argument and cases are directly relevant to policy makers: these issues are now very ‘hot’ on the policy agendas of international aid and development institutions, like European national aid agencies, OECD, World Bank

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