Taxation

Work on taxation at IDS is primarily led by the International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD), 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.

A tax sign in Sierra Leone. Credit: Vanessa van den Boogaard

The International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD) is led by Professor Mick Moore and funded by the UK Department for International Development and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Key areas of research on tax and development

Why should we tax Africa?

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Image credit: Vanessa van den Boogaard

Experimental research on tax compliance in Rwanda

This project conducted a set of large-scale field experiments in Rwanda aiming to understand the determinants of tax compliance. More details

REDD+ and Forest Taxation in sub-Saharan Africa

This research project will map the channels through which REDD+ could impact upon different forest tax systems in sub-Saharan Africa, and develop proposals to increase the probability that these impacts will be positive. More details

UNU-WIDER Symposium on Taxation & Revenue Mobilisation in Developing Countries consultancy

Bruno Martorano will be conducting research on the topic of ‘Tax Changes and Inequality in Latin America, 1990-2010’ More details

View all Research Theme's publications

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Wp486_FrontCover

Perspectives from the Field: SDC Cooperation for Property Taxation

IDS Working Paper 486 (2017)

This paper reviews three projects implemented in the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation’s Democratisation, Decentralisation and Local Governance Network that aim to provide incentives for local governments to increase tax compliance and revenues. The investigation focuses on three projects that aim to improve local revenue mobilisation. More details

IDS publications on international development research

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

Journal of Economic Surveys (2017)

Tax experiments have been gaining momentum in recent years, although this literature dates back several decades. With new developments in methods and data availability, tax experiments have gradually moved away from lab settings and towards the field. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Informal Taxation in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone: Taxpayers' Experiences and Perceptions

ICTD Working Paper 66 (2017)

In low-income and post-conflict countries, and particularly in rural areas, citizens often pay a range of 'taxes' that differ substantially from statutory policies. These 'informal taxes', paid to a variety of state and non-state actors, are frequently overlooked in analyses of local systems of taxation. This is problematic as it leads to misunderstandings of individual and household tax burdens, as well as of systems of local governance. More details

This is the front cover to the book, 'Taxing Multinational Enterprises as Unitary Firms'.

Taxing Multinational Enterprises as Unitary Firms

The international tax system needs a paradigm shift. The rules devised over 80 years ago treat the different parts of a multinational enterprise as if they were independent entities, although they also give national tax authorities powers to adjust the accounts of these entities. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Tax and Gender in Developing Countries: What are the Issues?

ICTD Summary Brief 6 (2017)

This brief explains what we have learned about gender and taxation and looks at: why taxation is relevant for gender; where gender is relevant in taxation; bias in tax structures; amongst other themes. More details

ICTD Generic WP cover

One size does not fit all: A field experiment on the drivers of tax compliance and delivery methods in Rwanda

ICTD Working Paper 58 (2017)

Although field experiments in tax compliance represent a growing area of research, the literature has so far focused exclusively on high and middle-income countries. This paper starts to fill this gap by reporting the results of a tax field experiment in Rwanda, while also highlighting some characteristics that may be common to other low-income countries. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Linking Taxation and Social Protection: Evidence on Redistribution and Poverty Reduction in Ethiopia

ICTD Working Paper 61 (2017)

This paper aims to jointly assess the distributional effect of taxes and transfers, through social protection, using Ethiopia as a case study. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Africa’s First Large-Scale Tax Experiment: Researching Compliance in Rwanda

Administrative data is incredibly valuable for research on taxation for several reasons. More details

IDS publications on international development research

The Carrot and the Stick: Evidence on Voluntary Tax Compliance from a Pilot Field Experiment in Rwanda

ICTD Working Paper 57 (2016)

This paper reports the results of a pilot experiment in Rwanda designed to encourage voluntary tax compliance by providing information on sanctions. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Les avantages de l’impot foncier pour l'Afrique

Africa Research Institute: Counterpoints (2016)

Sur le plan du développement, on néglige souvent les effets bénéfiques de l'imposition même pour des sommes modiques. Pour financer leurs budgets, les gouvernements en Afrique s'appuient depuis longtemps sur des revenus tirés des ressources naturelles ou bien sur des aides extérieures. Depuis la crise financière mondiale de 2008, on parle plus de la contribution potentielle que pourrait fournir une amélioration dans la mobilisation des ressources intérieures. Néanmoins, les donateurs internationaux oublient souvent le rôle primordial de la négociation des impôts dans la construction d'états efficaces, responsables, et réactifs, partout dans le monde développé. L'imposition n'est jamais chose appréciée par les contribuables : mais, dans le long terme, ce n'est qu'en payant les impôts que les citoyens auront un gouvernement consensuel et représentatif. More details

ICTD Generic WP cover

Unlocking the Potential of Administrative Data in Africa: Tax Compliance and Progressivity in Rwanda

ICTD Working Paper 56 (2016)

This paper is the first in a series of three studies looking at tax compliance using administrative data from Rwanda. It discusses the use of administrative data for tax research – specifically anonymised taxpayers records, which have become increasingly available on the African continent. More details

IDS publications on international development research

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

ICTD Research in Brief 13 (2016)

This paper looks at the challenge faced by many low income countries of increasing tax revenue dramatically while minimising distortions in the economy that may discourage investment and, more generally, economic growth. In this context, corporations have to contribute to the public purse but their tax burden should still allow them to prosper. More details

IDS publications on international development research

What Have We Learned About Mining Taxation in Africa?

ICTD Summary Brief 1 (2016)

This ICTD Summary Brief is one of six special research synthesis pieces produced at the end of the ICTD's first five-year funding period in Spring 2016. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Aid and Taxation in Ethiopia

The Journal of Development Studies 52.12 (2016)

The case of Ethiopia supports the existence of a positive relation between aid and tax, which occurs mainly through policy advice and technical assistance rather than conditionality. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Revenue-Maximising or Revenue-Sacrificing Government? Property Tax in Pakistan

The Journal of Development Studies (2016)

This paper details the case of property tax collection in Pakistan, and concludes that governments tend to maximise rule before they maximise revenue. More details

IDS publications on international development research

The Political Economy of Domestic Tax Reform in Bangladesh: Political Settlements, Informal Institutions and the Negotiation of Reform

Journal of Development Studies 52.12 (2016)

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. More details

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 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

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

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

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