Working Paper 91

The role of taxpayer education in improving tax compliance has been largely unexplored in the literature. This paper starts to fill this gap by providing the first rigorous evaluation of the effectiveness of taxpayer education on knowledge, perceptions, and compliance, which took place in Rwanda. Our analysis is based on a unique dataset that combines administrative and survey data. We show that taxpayer education results in significant and large increases in knowledge, which starts from a very low level at baseline, and that it contributes to improving compliance behaviour. Our strongest result is that training new taxpayers helps bring them into the habit of filing tax declarations – an obligation many fail to comply with. In terms of policy, our results show that the benefits of taxpayer education go beyond increased revenue in the short term, and include building a habit of tax compliance. Read the 2-page brief version here.


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.

Denis Mukama

Denis Mukama is the Assistant Commissioner Research, Planning, Statistics and M&E officer at Rwandan Revenue Authority.
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