IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Taxation without representation ? experimental evidence from Ghana and Uganda on citizen action toward taxes, oil, and aid


  • de la Cuesta,Brandon
  • Milner,Helen V.
  • Nielson,Daniel Lafayette
  • Knack,Stephen


Seminal arguments in political economy hold that citizens will more readily demand accountability from governments for taxes than for non-tax revenue from oil or aid. Two identical experiments on large, representative subject pools in Ghana and Uganda probe the effects of different revenue types on citizens'actions to monitor government spending. Roughly half of all subjects willingly sign petitions and donate money to scrutinize all three sources. However, neither Ghanaians nor Ugandans are more likely to take action for tax revenues than for oil or aid. The results also suggest no differences among taxes, oil, and aid in citizens'perceptions of transparency, misappropriation risk, or public goods provision. The results are robust to several alternative specifications and subgroup partitions, including the better educated, wealthier, and taxpaying population, suggesting a need for rethinking the axiom that taxation strengthens citizens'demands for accountability in developing countries.

Suggested Citation

  • de la Cuesta,Brandon & Milner,Helen V. & Nielson,Daniel Lafayette & Knack,Stephen, 2017. "Taxation without representation ? experimental evidence from Ghana and Uganda on citizen action toward taxes, oil, and aid," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8137, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:8137

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:8137. 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: (Roula I. Yazigi). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.