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Fiscal capacity and government accountability in sub-Saharan Africa


  • Baskaran, Thushyanthan

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

  • Bigsten, Arne

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)


Historical evidence from the developed world suggests that the expansion of the mod- ern states’ fiscal capacity (i. e. its ability to tax citizens) eventually led to more democratic and less corrupt governments. Since sub-Saharan African countries are currently in a pro- cess of state building, we study whether a positive effect of fiscal capacity on government accountability prevails in contemporaneous sub-Saharan Africa, too. We conduct the em- pirical analysis with data covering 23 African countries over the 1960-2008 period. The results suggest that fiscal capacity increases government accountability in sub-Saharan Africa.

Suggested Citation

  • Baskaran, Thushyanthan & Bigsten, Arne, 2011. "Fiscal capacity and government accountability in sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers in Economics 506, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0506

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2009. "The Origins of State Capacity: Property Rights, Taxation, and Politics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1218-1244, September.
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    7. Stephen Knack, 2001. "Aid Dependence and the Quality of Governance: Cross-Country Empirical Tests," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 310-329, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Libman, Alexander & Schultz, André & Graeber, Thomas, 2011. "Tax return as a political statement," Frankfurt School - Working Paper Series 169, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.
    2. Baskaran, Thushyanthan, 2014. "Taxation and Democratization," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 287-301.

    More about this item


    Fiscal capacity; taxation; government accountability; democracy;

    JEL classification:

    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • O23 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Fiscal and Monetary Policy in Development
    • P14 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Property Rights

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