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Building fiscal capacity in developing countries: Evidence on the role of information technology

Author

Listed:
  • Merima Ali
  • Abdulaziz B. Shifa
  • Abebe Shimeles
  • Firew Woldeyes

Abstract

Limited fiscal capacity poses a significant challenge in developing countries. To mitigate this challenge, the adoption of electronic tax systems has been at the forefront of tax reforms; however, there is little systematic empirical evidence on the impact of such reforms. We attempt to narrow this gap by documenting evidence from Ethiopia where there has been a recent surge in the use of electronic sales registry machines (ESRMs). Using administrative data covering all business taxpayers, we find that ESRM use resulted in a large and significant increase in tax payments. Moreover, this effect is driven by firms that were more likely to evade taxes prior to ESRM use. The results highlight the potential role that information technology may play in strengthening state fiscal capacity in developing countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Merima Ali & Abdulaziz B. Shifa & Abebe Shimeles & Firew Woldeyes, 2015. "Building fiscal capacity in developing countries: Evidence on the role of information technology," CMI Working Papers 12, CMI (Chr. Michelsen Institute), Bergen, Norway.
  • Handle: RePEc:chm:wpaper:wp2015-12
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    File URL: https://www.cmi.no/publications/file/5675-building-fiscal-capacity-in-developing-countries.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Luis Garicano & Paul Heaton, 2010. "Information Technology, Organization, and Productivity in the Public Sector: Evidence from Police Departments," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 167-201, January.
    2. Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2000. "Beyond Computation: Information Technology, Organizational Transformation and Business Performance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 23-48, Fall.
    3. Tanzi, Vito & Zee, Howell H., 2000. "Tax Policy for Emerging Markets: Developing Countries," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 53(2), pages 299-322, June.
    4. Henrik J. Kleven & Mazhar Waseem, 2013. "Using Notches to Uncover Optimization Frictions and Structural Elasticities: Theory and Evidence from Pakistan," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(2), pages 669-723.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Best, Michael & Brockmeyer, Anne & Kleven, Henrik & Spinnewijn, Johannes & Waseem, Mazhar, 2013. "Production vs Revenue Efficiency With Limited Tax Capacity: Theory and Evidence From Pakistan," CEPR Discussion Papers 9717, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    Cited by:

    1. Timbul Hamonangan Simanjuntak & Imam Mukhlis, 2017. "The Relation of Fiscal Decentralization, Regional Finance and Social Justice for the Local Development of Indonesia," Applied Economics and Finance, Redfame publishing, vol. 4(1), pages 9-17, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Developing economy; fiscal capacity; information technology; taxation.;

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