IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

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

  • 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))

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by CERDI in its series Working Papers with number 201033.

in new window

Length: 15
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cdi:wpaper:1219
Contact details of provider: Postal: 65 Bd. F. Mitterrand, 63000 Clermont-Ferrand
Phone: (33-4) 73 17 74 00
Fax: (33-4) 73 17 74 28
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cdi:wpaper:1219. 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: (Vincent Mazenod)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.