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On Tax Efforts and Colonial Heritage in Africa

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  • Thandika Mkandawire

Abstract

One commonly observed phenomena about taxation in Africa are regional differences and the fact that southern African countries have higher levels of shares of taxation in GDP. This article argues that the major source of differences in 'tax effort' is the colonial histories of various countries. Using standard measures of 'tax effort in a panel data framework and dividing colonial Africa along forms of incorporation into the colonial system, it shows that African countries and others with similar colonial histories have higher levels of 'tax effort'. However, the difference disappears when we control for the colonial factor. These results hold under different model specifications.

Suggested Citation

  • Thandika Mkandawire, 2010. "On Tax Efforts and Colonial Heritage in Africa," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(10), pages 1647-1669.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:46:y:2010:i:10:p:1647-1669
    DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2010.500660
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Adam, Christopher S. & Bevan, David L. & Chambas, Gerard, 2001. "Exchange rate regimes and revenue performance in Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 173-213, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Roel Dom, 2017. "Semi-Autonomous Revenue Authorities in Sub-Saharan Africa: Silver Bullet or White Elephant," Discussion Papers 2017-01, University of Nottingham, CREDIT.
    2. Leanora Alecia Brown & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, 2015. "International Debt Forgiveness: Who Gets Picked and Its Effect On The Tax Effort Of Developing Countries," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1504, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    3. Asongu, Simplice & Jellal, Mohamed, 2014. "International aid corruption and fiscal behavior policy," MPRA Paper 57192, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Handley, Antoinette, 2014. "Varieties of capitalists? The middle class, private sector and economic outcomes in Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series 101, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    5. Ivanyna, Maksym & von Haldenwang, Christian, 2012. "A comparative view on the tax performance of developing countries: Regional patterns, non-tax revenue and governance," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 6, pages 1-44.
    6. Giulia Mascagni, 2016. "Aid and Taxation in Ethiopia," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 52(12), pages 1744-1758, December.
    7. Morrissey, Oliver, 2015. "Aid and Government Fiscal Behavior: Assessing Recent Evidence," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 98-105.
    8. Moore, Mick, 2014. "Revenue Reform and Statebuilding in Anglophone Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 99-112.
    9. Asongu Simplice & Jellal Mohamed, 2014. "International aid, corruption and fiscal policy behavior," Working Papers 14/007, African Governance and Development Institute..
    10. Feger, Thuto & Asafu-Adjaye, John, 2014. "Tax effort performance in sub-Sahara Africa and the role of colonialism," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 163-174.
    11. Fairfield, Tasha, 2013. "Going Where the Money Is: Strategies for Taxing Economic Elites in Unequal Democracies," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 42-57.
    12. Marcus André Melo & Armando Barrientos & André Canuto Coelho, 2014. "Taxation, redistribution and the social contract in Brazil," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series iriba_wp11, GDI, The University of Manchester.
    13. Broms, Rasmus, 2017. "Colonial Revenue Extraction and Modern Day Government Quality in the British Empire," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 269-280.
    14. Armin von Schiller, 2015. "Party System Institutionalization and Reliance on Personal Income Tax in Developing Countries," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 7351, Inter-American Development Bank.
    15. Marin Ferry, 2015. "The Carrot and Stick Approach to Debt Relief : Overcoming Moral Hazard," Working Papers DT/2015/14, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    16. Isidro Hernandez Rodríguez, 2011. "Tributación y desarrollo en perspectiva," Revista de Economía Institucional, Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Economía, vol. 13(24), pages 271-302, January-J.
    17. Samantha Torrance & Oliver Morrissey, "undated". "Taxation and Indigenous Institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa," Discussion Papers 14/04, University of Nottingham, CREDIT.
    18. Musharraf Rasool Cyan & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Violeta Vulovic, 2014. "New approaches to measuring tax effort," Chapters,in: Taxation and Development: The Weakest Link?, chapter 2, pages 27-68 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    19. Broadberry, Stephen & Gardner, Leigh, 2014. "African economic growth in a European mirror: a historical perspective," Economic History Working Papers 56493, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    20. Abrams M.E. Tagem, 2017. "The economics and politics of foreign aid and domestic revenue," WIDER Working Paper Series 180, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    21. Fairfield, Tasha, 2013. "Going where the money is: strategies for taxing economic elites in unequal democracies," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 49828, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    22. José Antonio Alonso & Carlos Garcimartín, "undated". "Does Aid Hinder Tax Efforts? More Evidence," Discussion Papers 11/04, University of Nottingham, CREDIT.
    23. Musharraf Cyan & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & VIoleta Vulovic, 2013. "Measuring tax effort: Does the estimation approach matter and should effort be linked to expenditure goals?," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1308, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    24. repec:unu:wpaper:wp2012-01 is not listed on IDEAS
    25. Baskaran, Thushyanthan & Bigsten, Arne, 2013. "Fiscal Capacity and the Quality of Government in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 92-107.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O20 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - General
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa

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