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IMF programs and tax effort What role for institutions in Africa?

Author

Listed:
  • Bertrand LAPORTE

    () (Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches sur le Développement International(CERDI))

  • Gérard CHAMBAS

    () (Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches sur le Développement International(CERDI))

  • Jean-François BRUN

    () (Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches sur le Développement International(CERDI))

Abstract

When compared to other developing countries, most Sub-Saharan African countries are characterized by a disappointing level of development. Among the factors explaining this poor performance, the inadequate supply of public goods is often advocated. This inadequate supply is due either to poor efficiency of public expenditure, or to an insufficient tax effort. This paper is focused on this last factor. One of the reasons for the low level of public revenues could be the weak impact of the IMF programs on the tax effort. In the agreements that developing countries reach with the IMF, they commit to reduce their macro-economic imbalances, notably fiscal deficit, to a sustainable level. The measures necessary to achieve the overall budgetary objectives apply mainly to public expenditures as they are easy to reduce in the short term. However, the hypothesis of a positive effect of IMF programs must be considered: one objective of the African governments could be to maintain public expenditures at their previous level. To this end, African governments could choose to mobilize additional public revenues. Thus, most of IMF programs promote tax reforms leading to a more effective policy of public revenue mobilization. This last scenario of an increase of the level of public revenue is corroborated by the econometric analysis. The level of public revenue depends, among other factors, on the quality of institutions. However, the institutional quality of custom and tax administrations is weaker in Africa than elsewhere. This poor quality reduces the efficiency of IMF programs which may have a lower impact on the level of public revenue in African countries. These results point up two main lessons for the IMF (and more generally for lenders) and for recipient countries: 1) The role of technical assistance associated with the IMF programs is crucial, since it enables capacity reinforcement of the technical administrations in charge of the definition and implementation of the reform; 2) The technical assistance for tax and custom administrations must be strengthened for those countries which initially have a poor quality of bureaucracy.

Suggested Citation

  • Bertrand LAPORTE & Gérard CHAMBAS & Jean-François BRUN, 2010. "IMF programs and tax effort What role for institutions in Africa?," Working Papers 201033, CERDI.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdi:wpaper:1219
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ouattara, B., 2006. "Foreign aid and government fiscal behaviour in developing countries: Panel data evidence," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 506-514, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hermann D. Yohou & Michaël Goujon & Wautabouna Ouattara, 2016. "Heterogeneous Aid Effects on Tax Revenues: Accounting for Government Stability in WAEMU Countries," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 25(3), pages 468-498.
    2. Djedje Hermann YOHOU & Michaël GOUJON, 2017. "Reassessing Tax Effort in Developing Countries: a Proposal of a Vulnerability-Adjusted Tax Effort Index (VATEI)," Working Papers P186, FERDI.
    3. Djedje Hermann YOHOU & Michaël GOUJON & Bertrand LAPORTE & Samuel GUERINEAU, 2016. "Is Aid Unfriendly to Tax? African Evidence of Heterogeneous Direct and Indirect Effects," Working Papers 201608, CERDI.
    4. Sèna Kimm Gnangnon, 2012. "The Effect of Development Aid Unpredictability and Migrants' Remittances on Fiscal Consolidation in Developing Countries," Working Papers halshs-00677108, HAL.
    5. Ernesto Crivelli & Sanjeev Gupta, 2016. "Does conditionality in IMF-supported programs promote revenue reform?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(3), pages 550-579, June.
    6. Brun, Jean-François & Gnangnon, Sèna Kimm, 2017. "Does trade openness contribute to driving financing flows for development?," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2017-06, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.
    7. Jean-Louis Combes & Rasmané Ouedraogo & Sampawende J Tapsoba, 2016. "What Does Aid Do to Fiscal Policy? New Evidence," IMF Working Papers 16/112, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Sena Kimm GNANGNON, 2012. "The Effect of Development Aid Unpredictability and Migrants’ Remittances on Fiscal Consolidation in Developing Countries," Working Papers 201210, CERDI.

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