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Peoples' views of taxation in Africa: A review of research on determinants of tax compliance

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  • Odd-Helge Fjeldstad
  • Collette Schulz-Herzenberg
  • Ingrid Hoem Sjursen
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    Abstract

    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. Attempts to broaden the tax base require insights into how citizens experience and perceive the tax system, whether people perceive they are paying taxes or not, what they eventually pay, their views on tax administration and enforcement, and whether and how their tax behaviour is correlated with how they perceive the state. Attitude and perception surveys of current and potential taxpayers may also help to identify perceived weaknesses of the tax system, and enable tax authorities to focus attention efficiently on high-risk categories of taxpayers.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by CMI (Chr. Michelsen Institute), Bergen, Norway in its series CMI Working Papers with number 7.

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    Length: 50 pages
    Date of creation: 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:chm:wpaper:wp2012-7

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    Keywords: Taxation; Tax behaviour; Compliance; Evasion; Fiscal exchange; Surveys;

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    References

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    1. Friedrich G. Schneider & Benno Torgler, 2006. "What shapes attitudes toward paying taxes? Evidence from multicultural european countries," Economics working papers 2006-08, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    2. Frank A. Cowell, 1990. "Cheating the Government: The Economics of Evasion," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262532484, December.
    3. Ronald D. Picur & Ahmed Riahi-Belkaoui, 2006. "The impact of bureaucracy, corruption and tax compliance," Review of Accounting and Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 5(2), pages 174-180, May.
    4. Alm, James & Torgler, Benno, 2006. "Culture differences and tax morale in the United States and in Europe," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 224-246, April.
    5. Grasmick, Harold G. & Scott, Wilbur J., 1982. "Tax evasion and mechanisms of social control: A comparison with grand and petty theft," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 213-230, September.
    6. HINDRIKS, Jean & KEEN, Michael & MUTHOO, Abhinay, . "Corruption, extortion and evasion," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1671, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    7. Andreoni, J. & Erard, B. & Feinstein, J., 1996. "Tax Compliance," Working papers 9610r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    8. Graetz, Michael J & Reinganum, Jennifer F & Wilde, Louis L, 1986. "The Tax Compliance Game: Toward an Interactive Theory of Law Enforcement," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(1), pages 1-32, Spring.
    9. Fjeldstad, Odd-helge & Semboja, Joseph, 2001. "Why People Pay Taxes: The Case of the Development Levy in Tanzania," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(12), pages 2059-2074, December.
    10. Kirchler, Erich & Hoelzl, Erik & Wahl, Ingrid, 2008. "Enforced versus voluntary tax compliance: The "slippery slope" framework," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 210-225, April.
    11. Allingham, Michael G. & Sandmo, Agnar, 1972. "Income tax evasion: a theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 323-338, November.
    12. Sah, R.K., 1990. "Social Osmosis And Patterns Of Crime: A Dynamic Economic Analysis," Papers 609, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
    13. Cowell, Frank A. & P.F. Gordon, James, 1988. "Unwillingness to pay : Tax evasion and public good provision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 305-321, August.
    14. Spicer, M W & Lundstedt, S B, 1976. "Understanding Tax Evasion," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 31(2), pages 295-305.
    15. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
    16. Alm, James & McClelland, Gary H. & Schulze, William D., 1992. "Why do people pay taxes?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 21-38, June.
    17. Fauvelle-Aymar, Christine, 1999. "The Political and Tax Capacity of Government in Developing Countries," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 391-413.
    18. Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817, August.
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