The Journal of Development Studies Volume 52, Issue 12

This paper explains the persistence of a tax system characterised by low revenue collection and extensive informality in Bangladesh. It combines analysis of long-term formal and informal institutions and of micro-level incentives shaping negotiation of short-term reform. The system is unusually informal, discretionary, and corrupt, but remains resistant to change because it delivers low and predictable tax rates to business, extensive opportunities for corruption to the tax administration, and an important vehicle for fundraising by political leaders and rent distribution to their elite supporters. We then explore the dynamics of micro-level reform and external pressure within the constraints of this overarching political bargain.


Mirza Hassan

Wilson Prichard

Wilson Prichard is an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto, a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, and Chief Executive Officer of the International Centre for Tax and Development. His research focuses on the relationship between taxation and citizen demands for improved governance in sub-Saharan Africa.
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