IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jeborg/v189y2021icp172-193.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Can ICTs increase tax compliance? Evidence on taxpayer responses to technological innovation in Ethiopia

Author

Listed:
  • Mascagni, Giulia
  • Mengistu, Andualem T.
  • Woldeyes, Firew B.

Abstract

The widespread introduction of ICTs and digitised data management systems is one of the most important developments amongst African tax administrations in recent years. However, very little evidence is available on their effectiveness to increase compliance and on how taxpayers respond to these changes. This paper starts filling this gap by reporting three sets of results from Ethiopia. First, we evaluate the impact of a technological innovation, the adoption of electronic sales registration machines, on taxpayers’ self reports. We find a positive impact on tax revenue, which increases by at least 12% for income taxes and 48% for VAT. However, taxpayers respond by simultaneously adjusting both reported sales and costs, thus yielding net revenue gains that are proportionally lower than the increase in sales. Second, we use a letter experiment to show that the main mechanism through which the machines increase tax revenue is compliance, rather than any change in real business activity. Third, we document how the revenue administration does not make use of available data to its full potential, as many discrepancies remain undetected. However, machine adoption improves the accuracy of those taxpayer records, reducing dicrepancies.

Suggested Citation

  • Mascagni, Giulia & Mengistu, Andualem T. & Woldeyes, Firew B., 2021. "Can ICTs increase tax compliance? Evidence on taxpayer responses to technological innovation in Ethiopia," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 189(C), pages 172-193.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:189:y:2021:i:c:p:172-193
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2021.06.007
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268121002407
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.jebo.2021.06.007?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sean Lewis-Faupel & Yusuf Neggers & Benjamin A. Olken & Rohini Pande, 2016. "Can Electronic Procurement Improve Infrastructure Provision? Evidence from Public Works in India and Indonesia," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 258-283, August.
    2. Dayanand S. Manoli & Nicholas Turner, 2014. "Nudges and Learning: Evidence from Informational Interventions for Low-Income Taxpayers," NBER Working Papers 20718, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Benjamin A. Olken & Rohini Pande, 2012. "Corruption in Developing Countries," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 479-509, July.
    4. Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Martin B. Knudsen & Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Søren Pedersen & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Unwilling or Unable to Cheat? Evidence From a Tax Audit Experiment in Denmark," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(3), pages 651-692, May.
    5. Wojciech Kopczuk & Joel Slemrod, 2006. "Putting Firms into Optimal Tax Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 130-134, May.
    6. Kangave, Jalia & Nakato, Susan & Waiswa, Ronald & Zzimbe, Patrick Lumala, 2016. "Boosting Revenue Collection through Taxing High Net Worth Individuals: The Case of Uganda," Working Papers 11205, Institute of Development Studies, International Centre for Tax and Development.
    7. Giulia Mascagni, 2018. "From The Lab To The Field: A Review Of Tax Experiments," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(2), pages 273-301, April.
    8. Jens Ludwig & Jeffrey R. Kling & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2011. "Mechanism Experiments and Policy Evaluations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 17-38, Summer.
    9. Bellon, Matthieu & Dabla-Norris, Era & Khalid, Salma & Lima, Frederico, 2022. "Digitalization to improve tax compliance: Evidence from VAT e-Invoicing in Peru," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 210(C).
    10. Gordon, Roger & Li, Wei, 2009. "Tax structures in developing countries: Many puzzles and a possible explanation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 855-866, August.
    11. Christof Ernst & Katharina Richter & Nadine Riedel, 2014. "Corporate taxation and the quality of research and development," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 21(4), pages 694-719, August.
    12. Christoph Ernst & Katharina Richter & Nadine Riedel, 2013. "Corporate taxation and the quality of research & development," Working Papers 1301, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
    13. Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Emmanuel Saez, 2009. "Why Can Modern Governments Tax So Much? An Agency Model of Firms as Fiscal Intermediaries," NBER Working Papers 15218, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2013. "Taxation and Development," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 041, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
    15. Dina Pomeranz, 2015. "No Taxation without Information: Deterrence and Self-Enforcement in the Value Added Tax," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(8), pages 2539-2569, August.
    16. Brockmeyer,Anne & Hernandez,Marco & Kettle,Stewart & Smith,Spencer Douglas, 2016. "Casting the tax net wider : experimental evidence from Costa Rica," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7850, The World Bank.
    17. Paul Carrillo & Dina Pomeranz & Monica Singhal, 2017. "Dodging the Taxman: Firm Misreporting and Limits to Tax Enforcement," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 144-164, April.
    18. repec:cep:stieop:41 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Mascagni, Giulia & Santoro, Fabrizio & Mukama, Denis & Karangwa, John & Hakizimana, Napthal, 2022. "Active Ghosts: Nil-filing in Rwanda," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 152(C).
    20. Slemrod, Joel & Collins, Brett & Hoopes, Jeffrey L. & Reck, Daniel & Sebastiani, Michael, 2017. "Does credit-card information reporting improve small-business tax compliance?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 1-19.
    21. Mascagni, Giulia & Mukama, Denis & Santoro, Fabrizio, 2019. "An Analysis of Discrepancies in Taxpayers' VAT Declarations in Rwanda," Working Papers 14421, Institute of Development Studies, International Centre for Tax and Development.
    22. Ali, Merima & Shifa, Abdulaziz & Shimeles, Abebe & Woldeyes, Firew, 2015. "Information Technology and Fiscal Capacity in a Developing Country: Evidence from Ethiopia," Working Papers 11180, Institute of Development Studies, International Centre for Tax and Development.
    23. Nicky J. Welton & Howard H. Z. Thom, 2015. "Value of Information," Medical Decision Making, , vol. 35(5), pages 564-566, July.
    24. Abebe Shimeles & Daniel Zerfu Gurara & Firew Woldeyes, 2017. "Taxman's Dilemma: Coercion or Persuasion? Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment in Ethiopia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 420-424, May.
    25. Santoro, Fabrizio & Mdluli, Winnie, 2019. "Nil-Filing in Eswatini: Should the Revenue Administration be Concerned?," Working Papers 14478, Institute of Development Studies, International Centre for Tax and Development.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Okunogbe,Oyebola Motunrayo & Santoro,Fabrizio, 2021. "The Promise and Limitations of Information Technology for Tax Mobilization," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9848, The World Bank.
    2. Okunogbe,Oyebola Motunrayo & Santoro,Fabrizio, 2022. "Increasing Tax Collection in African Countries : The Role of Information Technology," Policy Research Working Paper Series 10182, The World Bank.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Mascagni, Giulia & Mengistu, Andualem T. & Woldeyes, Firew B., 2018. "Can ICTs Increase Tax? Experimental Evidence from Ethiopia," Working Papers 13990, Institute of Development Studies, International Centre for Tax and Development.
    2. Dina Pomeranz & José Vila-Belda, 2019. "Taking State-Capacity Research to the Field: Insights from Collaborations with Tax Authorities," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 11(1), pages 755-781, August.
    3. Paul Carrillo & Dina Pomeranz & Monica Singhal, 2017. "Dodging the Taxman: Firm Misreporting and Limits to Tax Enforcement," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 144-164, April.
    4. Mascagni, Giulia & Santoro, Fabrizio & Mukama, Denis & Karangwa, John & Hakizimana, Napthal, 2022. "Active Ghosts: Nil-filing in Rwanda," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 152(C).
    5. Todd Kumler & Eric Verhoogen & Judith Frías, 2020. "Enlisting Employees in Improving Payroll Tax Compliance: Evidence from Mexico," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 102(5), pages 881-896, December.
    6. Mohammad Hoseini, 2020. "Value‐Added Tax, Input–Output Linkages and Informality," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 87(347), pages 813-843, July.
    7. Lopez-Luzuriaga, Andrea & Scartascini, Carlos, 2019. "Compliance spillovers across taxes: The role of penalties and detection," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 518-534.
    8. Fan, Haichao & Liu, Yu & Qian, Nancy & Wen, Jaya, 2018. "The Dynamic Effects of Computerized VAT Invoices on Chinese Manufacturing Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 12786, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Adhikari, Bibek & Alm, James & Collins, Brett & Sebastiani, Michael & Wilking, Eleanor, 2022. "Using a natural experiment in the taxicab industry to analyze the effects of third-party income reporting," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 193(C), pages 312-333.
    10. Muhammad Khudadad Chatta, 2020. "Do Deadline Extensions Encourage Tax Filing? Evidence from Pakistan," CSAE Working Paper Series 2020-21, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    11. Michael Carlos Best & Anne Brockmeyer & Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Johannes Spinnewijn & Mazhar Waseem, 2015. "Production versus Revenue Efficiency with Limited Tax Capacity: Theory and Evidence from Pakistan," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 123(6), pages 1311-1355.
    12. Haichao Fan & Yu Liu & Nancy Qian & Jaya Wen, 2018. "Computerizing VAT Invoices in China," NBER Working Papers 24414, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Li, Lixing & Liu, Kevin Zhengcheng & Nie, Zhuo & Xi, Tianyang, 2021. "Evading by any means? VAT enforcement and payroll tax evasion in China," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 185(C), pages 770-784.
    14. Brockmeyer,Anne & Hernandez,Marco, 2016. "Taxation, information, and withholding : evidence from Costa Rica," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7600, The World Bank.
    15. Marie Bjørneby & Annette Alstadsæter & Kjetil Telle, 2018. "Collusive tax evasion by employers and employees. Evidence from a randomized fi eld experiment in Norway," Discussion Papers 891, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    16. Arbex, Marcelo Aarestru & Mattos, Enlinson, 2020. "Limited tax capacity and the optimal taxation of firms," Textos para discussão 539, FGV EESP - Escola de Economia de São Paulo, Fundação Getulio Vargas (Brazil).
    17. Fjeldstad, Odd-Helge & Kagoma, Cecilia & Mdee, Ephraim & Sjursen, Ingrid Hoem & Somville, Vincent, 2020. "The customer is king: Evidence on VAT compliance in Tanzania," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 128(C).
    18. Adhikari, Bibek & Alm, James & Harris, Timothy F., 2021. "Small business tax compliance under third-party reporting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 203(C).
    19. Junxue Jia & Siying Ding & Yongzheng Liu, 2018. "Decentralization, Incentives, and Tax Enforcement," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1819, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    20. Kodjo Adandohoin & Jean-Francois Brun, 2020. "Are incomes and property taxes effective instruments for tax transition?," Working Papers hal-03053683, HAL.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tax compliance; Technology; Tax administration;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:189:y:2021:i:c:p:172-193. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.