International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD)

The International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD) is a global policy research network, devoted to improving the quality of tax policy and administration in developing countries, with a special focus on sub-Saharan Africa. It is led by Professor Mick Moore and funded by the UK Department for International Development and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Commissioner General, Ethiopian Revenue Authority being interviewed by journalists at the Annual Meeting of the International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD). Credit: Rhiannon McCluskey - IDS/ICTD

The ICTD’s primary objective is to provide research evidence that supports developing countries in raising domestic revenues equitably and sustainably, in a manner that is conducive to pro-poor economic growth and good governance. It does this by generating and disseminating research to policymakers and the public in order to broaden public debate on taxation issues in Africa. The ICTD also seeks to build the capacity of revenue authorities and academics in Africa to conduct research on tax issues through research collaboration and training.

Key ICTD research themes

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Image: Former Commissioner General of the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority, Beker Shale, being interviewed by journalists at the ICTD Annual Meeting in 2016. Credit: R.McCluskey - IDS/ICTD

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IDS publications on international development research

Rebuilding Local Government Finances After Conflict: Lessons from a Property Tax Reform Programme in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone

Journal of Development Studies 52.12 (2016)

This research interrogates the factors underpinning the relative success of a property tax reform programme in Sierra Leone. Recognising the importance of politics in shaping reform outcomes, it highlights reform strategies that have contributed to overcoming both technical and political barriers to reform. More details

IDS publications on international development research

What Have We Learned About Taxation, Statebuilding and Accountability?

ICTD Summary Brief 4 (2016)

This ICTD Summary Brief looks at what has been learned about taxation, state-building and accountability during the Centre's first five-year funding period, ending Spring 2016. More details

IDS publications on international development research

What Have We Learned About Informal Taxation in sub-Saharan Africa?

ICTD Summary Brief 2 (2016)

This ICTD Summary Brief looks at what has been learned about informal taxation in sub-Saharan Africa during the Centre's first five-year funding period, ending Spring 2016. More details

This is the cover of the Journal Article titled Electoral Competitiveness, Tax Bargaining and Political Incentives in Developing Countries: Evidence from Political Budget Cycles Affecting Taxation by Wilson Prichard.

Electoral Competitiveness, Tax Bargaining and Political Incentives in Developing Countries: Evidence from Political Budget Cycles Affecting Taxation

British Journal of Political Science (2016)

Studies of political budget cycles in developing countries have generally sought to inform understanding of short-term fiscal dynamics, but can also offer unique insight into broader political dynamics in developing countries. This article correspondingly employs markedly improved data in order to study the impact of elections on tax collection, and draw broader lessons. It shows that while electi More details

ICTD Working Paper 48 Front Cover

The Corporate Tax Burden in Ethiopia: Evidence from Anonymised Tax Returns

ICTD Working Paper 48 (2016)

Our strongest result regards the relation between tax burdens and firm size. We find a statistically significant U-shaped relation between ETR and size. While small firms face the highest tax burden, the largest firms still pay more than middle-sized firms. It is this latter group that benefits from lower tax burdens. More details

IDS publications on international development research

The ICTD Government Revenue Dataset

ICTD Research in Brief 10 (2016)

This paper explains why existing sources of data on government revenue in developing countries are flawed, and how this undermines the robustness of research on the role of revenue and taxation in development. It presents a new Government Revenue Dataset to improve data accuracy and coverage. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Aid and Taxation: Exploring the Relationship Using New Data

ICTD Research in Brief 11 (2016)

This paper examines cross country evidence concerning the relationship between aid and taxation using a new dataset complied by the International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD). It finds no support for the claim that aid reduces tax effort. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Taxation, Non-Tax Revenue and Democracy: New Evidence Using New Cross-Country Data

ICTD Research in Brief 12 (2016)

This paper finds support for the existence of a political resource curse. It draws on improved quality data from the International Centre for Tax and Development's Government Revenue Dataset (ICTD GRD) to re-examine existing econometric tests and significantly improve their robustness. More details

ICTD Working Paper 49 front cover

A Fiscal History of Ethiopia: Taxation and Aid Dependence 1960-2010

ICTD Working Paper 49 (2016)

This paper reviews the fiscal history of Ethiopia, focusing particularly on the period between 1960 and 2010, for which detailed fiscal data is available to underpin the analysis. While looking at the main drivers and constraints to tax revenue mobilisation in this period, the paper explores the role that aid and donors have played, and how this historical background influences Ethiopia today. More details

ICTD Working Paper 46

From the Lab to the Field: a Review of Tax Experiments

ICTD Working Paper 46 (2016)

With new developments in methods and data availability, tax experiments have gradually moved away from lab settings and towards the field. This movement from the lab to the field has happened against the background of the ‘credibility revolution’ in applied economics, which has seen more rigorous methods applied to policy relevant questions, and of the availability to researchers of administrative data from tax returns. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Boosting Revenue Collection through Taxing High Net Worth Individuals: The Case of Uganda

ICTD Working Paper 45 (2016)

For over a decade Uganda’s tax-to-GDP ratio hovered between 12 per cent and 13 per cent, despite various amendments to tax laws and reforms in tax administration. Part of the low revenue contribution can be attributed to factors external to the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), such as the structure of the economy – particularly the prevalence of the informal sector and the ubiquity of cash transactions. More details

This is the front cover of ICTD Working Paper 44, Developing Country Revenue Mobilisation: A Proposal to Modify the ‘Transactional Net Margin’ Transfer Pricing Method

Developing Country Revenue Mobilisation: A Proposal to Modify the ‘Transactional Net Margin’ Transfer Pricing Method

ICTD Working Paper 44 (2016)

Developing countries tend to rely more heavily than wealthier countries on corporate tax revenue from multinational companies operating in their jurisdiction. Therefore, the practice that the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has labelled ‘base erosion and profit shifting’ (BEPS) – the diversion of taxable income by multinational groups from countries where they conduct business to other, zero- and low-tax countries – poses an especially challenging problem for developing countries. More details

This is the front cover of ICTD Working Paper 43, Business people’s views of paying taxes in Ethiopia

Business people’s views of paying taxes in Ethiopia

ICTD Working Paper 43 (2016)

This study examines factors that determine business people’s attitudes towards paying taxes in Ethiopia. Based on data obtained from a survey of business taxpayers in Addis Ababa, the study finds a statistically significant relation between tax-compliance attitude and factors such as the perception of probability of audit, corruption, satisfaction with the tax administration, peer influence, gender and education. More details

This is the cover of the Journal Article titled Reassessing Tax and Development Research: A New Dataset, New Findings, and Lessons for Research by Wilson Prichard.

Reassessing Tax and Development Research: A New Dataset, New Findings, and Lessons for Research

World Development Vol 80 (2015)

There is growing concern with the weaknesses of economic statistics relating to developing countries, and the risks that poor data have generated misleading research findings and poor policy advice. Cross-country tax data offer a striking example, with existing datasets frequently highly incomplete, analytically imprecise, plagued by errors, and sharply lacking in transparency. More details

This is the front cover of ICTD Working Paper 42, Measuring Misalignment: the Location of US Multinationals’ Economic Activity Versus the Location of their Profits

Measuring Misalignment: the Location of US Multinationals’ Economic Activity Versus the Location of their Profits

ICTD Working Paper 42 (2015)

A major international effort – the OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) initiative – aims to reduce the extent of misalignment between the profits of multinational groups, and the location of their real economic activity. Recent research using balance sheet data has shown major misalignments, with a number of small jurisdictions capturing a tax base disproportionate to their economic activity, but has also revealed the limitations of available balance sheet data for lower-income countries. More details

This is the front cover of ICTD Working Paper 41, A Price-Based Royalty Tax?

A Price-Based Royalty Tax?

ICTD Working Paper 41 (2015)

This paper considers the merits of a price-based royalty, a royalty for which the rate varies with the product price, as a fiscal instrument for taxing extractive industries. In light of the literature on natural resources taxation, the case for a price-based royalty is appealing. A price-based royalty captures some of the desirable attributes of an income or resource rent tax, but in comparison to such taxes, it is easier to administer since revenue is much less sensitive to transfer price manipulation and tax avoidance efforts. More details

This is the front cover for Working Paper 9, Low Government Revenue from the Mining Sector in Zambia and Tanzania: Fiscal Design, Technical Capacity or Political Will?

Low Government Revenue from the Mining Sector in Zambia and Tanzania: Fiscal Design, Technical Capacity or Political Will?

ICTD Working Paper 9 (2015)

The contribution of mining to economic and social development in Sub-Saharan Africa is under increased scrutiny and criticism. Minerals are non-renewable resources, and production represents a transformation from a subsoil to a financial asset. Unless the gains are efficiently captured, saved and invested by the ultimate owner of the resource, the country in question could experience a net reduction in its national wealth. More details