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

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IDS publications on international development research

How Property Tax Would Benefit Africa

Africa Research Institute: Counterpoints (2015)

The developmental benefits of governments taxing citizens, even for modest sums, are often disregarded. African governments have long depended on revenue from natural resources or foreign aid to fund budgets. While the potential contribution that better domestic resource mobilisation could make to national finances has received greater attention since the 2008 global financial crisis, international donors often fail to recall the central role that bargaining over taxation has played in building effective, accountable and responsive states across the developed world. Although never popular, taxation is an essential component of consensual and representative government. More details

This is the front cover for Working Paper 28, Global Taxes and International Taxation: Mirage and Reality

Global Taxes and International Taxation: Mirage and Reality

Many global taxes have been proposed over the years. This study reviews the more important global tax proposals and concludes that, while many such ideas seem inappropriate or inadequately thought through, others are worth taking seriously. In reality, however, no global governance structure to impose such taxes exists or is likely to emerge in the near future. Global taxation – a dream for some and a nightmare for others – thus is, and is likely to remain for years to come, little more than a mirage. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Taxation, Responsiveness and Accountability in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Dynamics of Tax Bargaining

This book provides the most complete treatment of the connections between taxation and accountability in developing countries, providing both new evidence and an invaluable starting point for future research. More details

This is the front cover for Working Paper 29, Revenue Pressure on Mexican Municipalities: Does it Lead to Greater Accountability?

Revenue Pressure on Mexican Municipalities: Does it Lead to Greater Accountability?

ICTD Working Paper 29 (2015)

Development scholars are taking renewed interest in the taxation-accountability theory, which broadly claims that if governments are dependent on taxation they will become less corrupt and more accountable to citizens. The need to raise tax revenue is said to spark incentives that lead to mutually beneficial bargaining between the government and its citizens, through which citizens agree to make tax payments in return for more accountable governance and increased influence in government decision-making. More details

This is the front cover for Working Paper 27, International Distribution of the Corporate Tax Base: Implications of Different Apportionment Factors Under Unitary Taxation

International Distribution of the Corporate Tax Base: Implications of Different Apportionment Factors under Unitary Taxation

ICTD Working Paper 27 (2014)

Under the current system of separate accounting, tax-motivated international profit shifting results in misalignment of profits and real economic activity. While the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Base Erosion and Profit Shifting initiative aims to measure and curtail this, critics claim serious progress is only possible with greater emphasis on formulary apportionment methods (Picciotto 2013), or other methods outside the present international tax architecture (IMF 2014). More details

This is the front cover for Working Paper 26, Unitary Taxation and International Tax Rules

Unitary Taxation and International Tax Rules

ICTD Working Paper 26 (2014)

Any proposal for adoption of a unitary tax (UT) system ought to clear the first and most common hurdle of its compatibility, or lack of it, with the current norms in the international tax system – specifically, the current tax treaty network. This paper argues that unitary taxation is compatible with most of the current bilateral tax treaties and local countries’ national tax laws. More details

This is the front cover for Working Paper 25, Unitary Taxation of the Finance Sector

Unitary Taxation of the Finance Sector

ICTD Working Paper 25 (2014)

The international tax system, designed a century ago, has not kept pace with the modern multinational entity, rendering it ineffective in taxing many modern businesses according to economic activity. There are difficulties associated with the application of the traditional international tax regime to traditional multinational entities, and these are exacerbated when the same regime is applied to sectors of multinational entities which are considered non-traditional businesses. More details

ER97 Front Cover

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

IDS Evidence Report 97 (2014)

Tax revenue mobilisation is attracting increasing attention among researchers and policymakers in developed and developing countries alike. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Electoral Competitiveness, Political Budget Cycles and Taxation in Developing Countries

ICTD Working Paper 24 (2014)

Despite significant evidence of 'political budget cycles' affecting public expenditure, studies of the impact of elections on tax collection have reached mixed conclusions. Drawing on significantly improved government revenue data, this paper finds, contrary to earlier research, that when we focus on all executive elections in developing countries there is no significant effect on levels of tax collection. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Aid and Taxation: Exploring the Relationship Using New Data

ICTD Working Paper 21 (2014)

This paper examines cross-country evidence concerning the relationship between aid and taxation using a new dataset compiled by the International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD), and including some extensions to the empirical specification common in the literature. More details

IDS publications on international development research

The ICTD Government Revenue Dataset

ICTD Working Paper 19 (2014)

A major obstacle to cross-country research on the role of revenue and taxation in development has been the weakness of available data. This paper presents a new Government Revenue Dataset (GRD), developed through the International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD). More details

Strengthening_Evidence_Based_Policy_2014

Strengthening Evidence-Based Policy: Outputs November 2012 – March 2014

Accountable Grant Outputs Brochure (2014)

Knowledge and evidence are important elements of all policy processes. While the availability of more or higher quality evidence does not guarantee better policy processes, it is difficult to imagine how development policy and outcomes can be improved without it. More details

This is the front cover for Working Paper 22, Tax Structures, Economic Growth And Development

Tax Structures, Economic Growth and Development

ICTD Working Paper 22 (2014)

This paper investigates the relationship between tax structures and economic growth in a panel of developed and developing countries. In order to raise revenue, low-income countries have historically relied more heavily on international trade taxes, whilst richer nations employ comparatively more consumption and income taxes. More details

IDS publications on international development research

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

ICTD Working Paper 23 (2014)

A large body of cross-country econometric research has investigated the possibility of a political resource curse, by which access to extensive natural resources reduces the extent of democracy and accountability. More details

This is the front cover for Working Paper 20, Foreign Aid and Domestic Taxation: Multiple Sources, One Conclusion

Foreign Aid and Domestic Taxation: Multiple Sources, One Conclusion

ict Working Paper 20 (2014)

There are genuine concerns that foreign aid may crowd out domestic tax revenue. In the short run this would have negative consequences for the recipient government's revenue, and over a longer period could corrode governance through breaking the social contract. More details

Teaser for Unitary Taxation in Federal and Regional Integrated Markets

Unitary Taxation in Federal and Regional Integrated Markets

Research Report 3 (2014)

This paper analyses and compares approaches to unitary taxation in federal and regional integrated markets, and explores the potential application of unitary taxation in the context of regional economic communities within Africa, East Asia, and Latin America. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Revenue Reform and Statebuilding in Anglophone Africa

World Development 60.8 (2014)

Although increasingly justified in terms of statebuilding, recent tax reforms in anglophone Africa contributed only modestly to that goal. They have produced impressive tax agencies, but no detectable increases in revenue collections. They have not addressed some major deficiencies in tax policy and administration. More details

This is the cover of the Journal Article titled To Pay or Not to Pay? Citizens’ Attitudes Toward Taxation in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and South Africa by Merima Ali, Odd-Helge Fjeldstad, Ingrid Hoem Sjursen

To Pay or Not to Pay? Citizen's Attitudes Towards Taxation in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and South Africa

World Development Vol 64 (2014)

This paper examines factors that determine citizens’ tax-compliance attitude in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and South Africa. Using the 2011–12 Afrobarometer survey data, we find that tax-compliance attitude is positively correlated with provision of public services in all the four countries. However, the correlation depends on the specific service in question and differs between countries. More details

This is the front cover for Working Paper 18, Beyond BEPS: A Tax Policy Agenda for Developing Countries

Beyond BEPS: A Tax Policy Agenda for Developing Countries

ICTD Working Paper 18 (2014)

As the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) moves to the final stages of its work on base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS), this paper reflects on the most promising directions for legislative changes and other action which developing countries might take to protect their corporate tax bases. More details

image for non-ids publications

Tax Revenue Mobilistation In Developing Countries: Issues and Challenges

Governments in developing countries face great challenges in mobilising tax revenues, which result in a gap between what they could collect and what they actually collect. Tax gaps are hard to quantify for reasons that are discussed in the report More details

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Oxfam, Give the IMF a break!

02 Apr 2012
By Mick Moore
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