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Assessing the relationship between democracy and domestic taxes in developing countries

  • Hélène Ehrhart

    (CERDI - Centre d'études et de recherches sur le developpement international - CNRS : UMR6587 - Université d'Auvergne - Clermont-Ferrand I)

To what extent differences across developing countries in their domestic tax mobilization can be explained, in addition to the traditional determinants, by political economy factors and particularly by the political regime? Using a panel of 66 developing countries over the period 1990-2005, this paper provides econometric evidence that democracy matters for achieving higher domestic tax revenues which are much needed to finance public goods. It is especially the level of constraints on the executive which is of importance to counter the government's propensity to cave in for special interests and to be insufficiently welfare minded. We found that high levels of democracy are specifically needed in natural resource rich countries to make natural resource rents contribute to higher domestic tax revenues and no longer be an impediment to a sustained tax system.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Working Papers with number halshs-00553607.

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Date of creation: 07 Jan 2011
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Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00553607
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  1. Michael Keen & Ben Lockwood, 2007. "The Value Added Tax: Its Causes and Consequences," Economics Working Papers ECO2007/09, European University Institute.
  2. Lee, Woojin, 2003. "Is democracy more expropriative than dictatorship? Tocquevillian wisdom revisited," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 155-198, June.
  3. 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.
  4. Robinson, James A & Torvik, Ragnar & Verdier, Thierry, 2002. "Political Foundations of the Resource Curse," CEPR Discussion Papers 3422, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Rajkumar, Andrew Sunil & Swaroop, Vinaya, 2008. "Public spending and outcomes: Does governance matter?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 96-111, April.
  6. Bruno S. Frey & Benno Torgler, 2006. "Tax Morale and Conditional Cooperation," CREMA Working Paper Series 2006-11, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  7. César Calderón & Alberto Chong, 2005. "Do Democracies Breed Rent-Seeking Behavior?," Research Department Publications 4415, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  8. Timothy Besley & Masayuki Kudamatsu, 2006. "Health and Democracy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 313-318, May.
  9. Michael Keen & Mario Mansour, 2010. "Revenue Mobilisation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Challenges from Globalisation I - Trade Reform," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 28(5), pages 553-571, 09.
  10. Devashish Mitra & Dimitrios D. Thomakos & Mehmet A. Ulubaşoglu, 2002. ""Protection For Sale" In A Developing Country: Democracy Vs. Dictatorship," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 497-508, August.
  11. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521855266 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Adam, Antonis & Delis, Manthos D & Kammas, Pantelis, 2009. "Are democratic governments more efficient?," MPRA Paper 15843, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Jean-François Brun & Gérard Chambas & Martial Laurent, 2011. "Economie politique de la réforme de transition fiscale : le cas du Maroc," Working Papers halshs-00557066, HAL.
  14. Paul Clist & Oliver Morrissey, 2011. "Aid and tax revenue: Signs of a positive effect since the 1980s," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(2), pages 165-180, March.
  15. Bornhorst, Fabian & Gupta, Sanjeev & Thornton, John, 2009. "Natural resource endowments and the domestic revenue effort," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 439-446, December.
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