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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Use this search to display this theme's publications and filter by journal, author, country and much more.


Taxation and Development: What Have We Learned from Fifty Years of Research?

IDS Working Paper 427 (2013)

This paper considers how economic thinking about taxation in developing countries has changed over the last half century. It suggests that three different 'models' of development taxation may be discerned over this period. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Revenue Reform and Statebuilding in Anglophone Africa

ICTD Working Paper 10 (2013)

Within the development field, tax administration reform is an area of relative success. Over the past two decades, the national revenue systems of most countries in anglophone Africa have undergone major reforms. More details

This is the cover of the Journal Article titled Going Where the Money Is: Strategies for Taxing Economic Elites in Unequal Democracies by Tasha Fairfield.

Going Where the Money Is: Strategies for Taxing Economic Elites in Unequal Democracies

World Development Vol 47 (2013)

How can policymakers circumvent obstacles to taxing economic elites? This question is critical for developing countries, especially in Latin America where strengthening tax capacity depends significantly on tapping under-taxed, highly-concentrated income and profits. Drawing on diverse literatures and extensive fieldwork, the paper identifies six strategies that facilitate enactment of modest tax increases by mobilizing popular support and/or tempering elite antagonism. Case studies from Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia illustrate the effect of these strategies on the fate of tax reform initiatives. The analysis builds theory on tax politics and yields implications for research on reform coalitions and gradual institutional change. More details

IDS publications on international development research

The Changing Politics of Tax Policy Reform in Developing Countries

PREM Notes Special Series on Governance and Public Sector Management 2 (2013)

Who shapes tax policy reform in developing countries? A wider range of political actors are beginning to exercise influence. A brief history will explain who they are and how they operate. More details

This is the front cover for Working Paper 7, Local Government Revenue Mobilisation in Anglophone Africa

Local Government Revenue Mobilisation in Anglophone Africa

ICTD working paper 7 (2012)

This paper examines opportunities and constraints facing local revenue mobilisation in anglophone Africa, with an emphasis on urban settings. It discusses specific revenue instruments and their effects on economic efficiency, income distribution and accountability. In particular, it addresses political and administrative constraints facing various revenue instruments and factors affecting citizens’ compliance. The analysis is illustrated with examples from across anglophone Africa. More details

This is the front cover for Working Paper 8, People's Views of Taxation in Africa: A Review of Research on Determinants of Tax Compliance

People's Views of Taxation in Africa: A Review of Research on Determinants of Tax Compliance

ICTD Working Paper 8 (2012)

What are the key determinants of taxpayer compliance? And which features of citizen-state relations govern attitudes and behaviour regarding taxation? This paper examines the analytical foundation, methodological approaches and key findings of available empirical literature on taxpayer behaviour in Africa. Understanding how citizens perceive and experience taxation may provide an essential diagnostic of the political realities for tax reform. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Donors, Aid and Taxation in Developing Countries: An Overview

ICTD Working Paper 6 (2012)

Recent years have witnessed rapidly growing donor interest in tax issues in the developing world. This reflects a concern with revenue collection to finance public spending, but also recognition of the centrality of taxation to growth, redistribution and broader state-building and governance goals. Against this backdrop, this paper identifies a series of key issues that demand attention if donors are to improve the quality of their support for tax reform. More details

This is the front cover for Working Paper 5, Caught in a Trap: Zambia's Mineral Tax Reforms

Caught in a Trap: Zambia’s Mineral Tax Reforms

ICTD working paper 5 (2012)

Any investment that involves unrecoverable costs relies on the good faith of the government not to raise taxes after costs have been incurred. Unfortunately, features inherent within the political economy of natural resource industries, and particularly within poor countries, makes a stable investment environment difficult to achieve. Indeed, some suggest that countries may fall into a trap in which one episode of instability breeds the conditions for future instability, creating a vicious circle that prevents a country fully benefiting from its mineral wealth. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Taxing the Informal Economy: Challenges, Possibilities and Remaining Questions

ICTD Working Paper 4 (2012)

Recent years have witnessed significantly increased attention to the challenge of taxing small businesses in the informal sector. However, much of this recent attention has remained focused on comparatively technical issues of revenue maximization and policy design. This paper argues that this debate should focus increasingly on the wider development implications of informal sector taxation, as well as the political and institutional barriers to improved performance. More details

This is the front cover for Working Paper 3, Financing Security through Elite Taxation: The Case of Colombia's ‘Democratic Security Taxes’

Financing Security through Elite Taxation: The Case of Colombia’s ‘Democratic Security Taxes’

ICTD Working Paper 3 (2012)

Governments across the developing world in general, and Latin America in particular, tend to have difficulty in raising taxes from elites. In 2002, however, the Colombian government introduced the first of a series of wealth taxes aimed solely at rich individuals and companies with large liquid assets. Revenue from these taxes, which amounted to about 1 per cent of GDP, was earmarked for security. More details

IDS Research Report

The Tobin Tax: A Review of the Evidence

IDS Research Report 68 (2011)

The debate about the Tobin tax, and other financial transaction taxes (FTTs), gives rise to strong views both for and against. Unfortunately, little of the popular debate refers to the now considerable body of evidence about the impact of such taxes. More details

IDS Research Summary

The Tobin Tax: A Review of the Evidence

IDS Research Summary of IDS Research Report 68 (2011)

The Tobin tax, a small levy on foreign exchange transactions, should theoretically discourage speculation and thereby stabilise markets. More details

IDS publications on international development research

The Tobin Tax - A Review of The Evidence

This review attempts to synthesize what we know from the available theoretical and empirical literature about the impact of FTTs on volatility in financial markets. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Does reliance on tax revenue build state capacity in sub-Saharan Africa?

International Review of Administrative Sciences 76.4 (2010)

Academics and donors have increasingly argued that African states can enhance their general administrative capacity by improving tax revenue collection. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Citizen-State Relations – Improving Governance Through Tax Reform

Taxation is fundamental to sustainable development: it supports the basic functions of an effective state and sets the context for economic growth. However, there is another role for taxation that is often overlooked - as a catalyst for more responsive and accountable governments, and for expanding state capacity. More details

IDS In Focus Policy Briefing

Is a Financial Transaction Tax a Good Idea? A Review of the Evidence

IDS In Focus Policy Briefing 14.2 (2010)

IDS has undertaken a comprehensive review of the feasibility of financial transaction taxes (FTTs). We find that, worldwide, a financial transaction tax on foreign exchange transactions could raise US$26 billion. More details

IDS In Focus Policy Briefing

Markets, Basic Services and Poor People

IDS In Focus Policy Briefing Special issue (2010)

There are conditions under which well-structured commercialisation of government services can be advantageous to poor people. More details

IDS In Focus Policy Briefing

Tackling Instability in Financial Markets with a Panic Tax

IDS In Focus Policy Briefing Special issue (2010)

There has been much debate on introducing a financial transaction or ‘Tobin Tax' to generate revenue for public goods or enhance market stability. More details

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Oxfam, Give the IMF a break!

02 Apr 2012
By Mick Moore
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