Gender and Tax

There is relatively little research focusing on gender and taxation in developing countries, and particularly in Africa. Our research on this theme focuses on two main areas. The first is the representation of women in African tax administrations, and the impacts of their participation on tax collection and revenue authority performance. The second investigates the differing impacts of taxation on men and women, and particularly how both formal and informal tax systems impact on the livelihoods of poorer African women.

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Publications:

August 2022
Do tax policies discriminate against female traders? A gender framework to study informal marketplaces in Nigeria
by Imaobong Akpan & Ma Josep Cascant-Sempere

Scholars have long debated formalizing the informal sector through taxation, but how do these processes affect gender inequalities? Our study in Nigerian markets contributes a gender framework to the equitable taxation literature on formalization. The study draws on a survey of 451 traders in 12 markets, key informant interviews, and ethnographic research in four markets…

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Conversations on Gender and Tax
by Jacky Hicks, Berni Smith, Anna Downs & Benedetta Musillo

By being ‘gender aware’, tax policy, tax administration and tax research have the potential to both reduce discrimination and promote women’s economic empowerment, and benefit the wider inclusive economic growth and development process. Civil society organisations (CSOs) play an important role in all aspects of taxation and gender, from improving transparency and accountability of government…

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Gender and Tax: Gender Equality Meets Economic Growth
by Evert-jan Quak & Berni Smith

Women’s equal participation in an economy means they pay and benefit from fair taxes. Given that gender issues affect every aspect of tax systems, policies and administrations must identify and challenge bias against women. Governments in low and middle-income countries need support to reform tax policies and restructure tax administrations; not only to tackle gender…

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Are Women More Tax Compliant than Men? How Would We Know?
by Jalia Kangave, Ronald Waiswa & Nathan Sebaggala

Most research on tax compliance, including research on gender differences in compliance, is based on one of two problematic sources of data. One is surveys enquiring about attitudes and beliefs about taxpaying, or actual taxpaying behaviour. The other is experiments in which people who may or may not have experience of paying different types of…

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February 2021
Gender and Tax: Programming and Evidence
by Kelbesa Megersa

Generally, policymakers and tax analysts (as well as donors concerned about gender equity) have not made proper consideration about how tax policies and tax reforms can interact with gendered cultural norms in developing countries. However, there are worries that tax systems are biased against women and that recent tax reforms may increase the incidence of…

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December 2020
Gender and Tax Compliance: Firm Level Evidence from Ethiopia
by Seid Yimam & Fissha Asmare

Many Sub-Saharan African countries, characterised by government budget deficits, have been undergoing reforms and improvements to enhance tax revenue collection. However, such improvements often fall short of expectations and do not yield the expected revenue. These economies are highly vulnerable to tax avoidance and tax evasion, mainly due to the lack of a strong, modernised…

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October 2020
Gender and Tax Compliance: Firm Level Evidence from Ethiopia
by Seid Yimam & Fissha Asmare

Developing countries often lack tax information and enforcement capacity necessary to effectively implement instruments of a modern tax system, such as VAT, income taxes and others. An alternative strategy to increase tax compliance, and thus revenue, in these countries may depend on the capacity of policymakers to harness individual’s civicmindedness, social norms, reciprocity and cultural…

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Gender and Tax Policies in the Global South
by Anuradha Joshi, Jalia Kangave & Vanessa van den Boogaard

There is a limited, but growing body of literature on the gender effects of taxation. Most of the studies are from the global north and relate to details of direct personal income tax policies and indirect taxes with a small but growing body of work focused in the Global South, primarily exploring indirect, small, and…

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Hidden Inequalities: Tax Challenges of Market Women in Enugu and Kaduna States, Nigeria
by Imaobong Akpan & Kas Sempere

This paper explores how tax collection is experienced differently by female and male market traders in two Nigerian states. Based on a survey of 451 market traders in 12 markets and ethnographic research in four markets, two main findings emerged from the study – the benefits of having female tax collectors to reduce incidences of…

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Hidden Inequalities: Tax Challenges of Market Women in Enugu and Kaduna States, Nigeria
by Imaobong Akpan & Kas Sempere

This paper presents the findings of a study on gender-based taxation differences among market traders in two Nigerian states. At a high level, no significant differences were found between female and male traders in the markets visited in terms of tax payments, payments for market services and tax increases. However, a closer look at the…

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Blogs:

September 2022
by Max Gallien, Mike Rogan, Nana Akua Anyidoho & Vanessa van den Boogaard

Ghana’s introduction of a a 1.5% tax on mobile money transactions in May 2022 has been watched closely by policymakers across Africa. The proponents of the electronic transaction levy (e-levy) argue that taxes on mobile money — commonly referred to in Ghana as MoMo — present an opportunity for cash-strapped governments to raise funds in the complex…

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June 2022
by Philipa Birago Akuoko & Rhiannon McCluskey

The Electronic Transaction Levy (E-levy), a 1.5% tax on all electronic transactions, went into effect on the 1st of May amongst considerable uncertainty and controversy. One of the prime justifications for the levy was to capture the informal sector. The President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, defended the levy as an important measure to expand the…

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March 2020
by Jalia Kangave

In 2018, the International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD) published findings from a research study in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. While the researchers did not find any evidence of gender bias in the way market traders were taxed, they did find a major gender issue they did not expect – toilet fees. They found…

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Research Projects:

Past Project
Tax and Gender in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Project Researchers: Yannick Lokaya Bokasola, Eddy Junior Ngwakoyo & Jean Claude Ipungu Ikossa

A study to establish a solid understanding of one of the components of Tax and Gender in the DRC. The main objective is to understand the tax collectors’ attitude and behaviour as well as that of the vendors (women and men) while collecting tax (taxe d’étalage) in the formal and informal markets in Kinshasa City…

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Past Project
Does Gender Matter in Tax Compliance? The Case of URA’s Individual Taxpayers
Project Researchers: Ronald Waiswa, Uganda Revenue Authority, Nathan Sebaggala & Jalia Kangave, ICTD

There is now an extensive body of literature looking into the factors that influence tax compliance. These studies, loosely known as tax morale studies, employ various tools to understand why some people pay taxes while others do not. In some cases, the studies are gender disaggregated, thereby enabling us to understand how men and women…

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Past Project
The Myth of Gender Tax Compliance in Ethiopian Enterprises
Project Researchers: Seid Yimam Mohamed & Fissha Asmare Marye

This study will examine tax compliance differential between female-owned and male-owned business enterprises in Ethiopia, particularly located in Addis Ababa. Collecting survey data on 400 medium and large size firms, we will estimate the log-odds-ratios from a fixed effect logit model to describe the probability of being tax compliant and apply a generalized Oaxaca–Blinder decomposition…

Project Outputs

Working Paper
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