Events

The Tax for Development webinar series is jointly organised by Chr. Michelsen Institute and the TaxCapDev-network. It features ongoing research and initiatives to strengthen domestic revenue mobilization in developing countries, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa. 

This Webinar Series consists of 5 seminars on Tax and Development. They will take place on Tuesdays at 3pm – 4 pm (Barcelona/Geneva/Paris/Oslo) on zoom. Sign up using the links below each seminar in the schedule. 

Questions can be directed to: Ingrid.Sjursen@cmi.no 

 

Coming events
9 March - 9 February 15:00 - 16:00 CET
Electronic Payment Technology and Tax Capacity: Evidence from Uruguay’s Financial Inclusion Reform with Anne Brockmeyer

The idea that the digitization of transactions in an economy might increase government tax capacity has been prominent in the economic literature and in policy debates. This paper studies the effect of financial incentives on the adoption of electronic payment technology by firms and consumers, and on tax compliance by firms. Exploiting administrative tax and transaction records and quasi-experimental variation generated by Uruguay’s Financial Inclusion Reform, we present three main findings. Consumer VAT rebates for credit/debit card transactions trigger an immediate 50% increase in the number of card transactions and a 20-30% increase the volume of card transactions. Firms are much less responsive, however, with adoption of point-of-sale terminals (POS) increasing only marginally and only on the intensive margin. Comparing retail firms to wholesale firms in a difference-in-difference design, we find no increase in tax compliance. Endogenous POS adoption and the fact that electronic sales constitute less than 30% of total reported sales among firms with a POS can rationalize this finding.

Speaker
Research Director for Tax & Development
Institute for Fiscal Studies, UCL

Anne Brockmeyer is Research Director for Tax & Development at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Honorary Associate Professor at University College London, and a Senior Economist at the World Bank (on leave).

13 April 15:00 - 16:00 CET
Informal elites as local bureaucrats: Why working as a tax collector increases the local accountability of city chiefs in Congo with Jonathan Weigel
Speaker
Assistant professor
LSE and IFS

Jonathan Weigel is an assistant professor in the Department of International Development at the LSE, an affiliate of CEPR and STICERD, a member of EGAP, and a research associate at the IFS.

Past events
9 February 15:00 - 16:00 CET
Tax compliance, culture and local institutions: The legacy of pre-colonial centralization in Uganda with Merima Ali
The paper examines the legacy of pre-colonial centralization on tax compliance norms of citizens in contemporary Uganda. By combining geo-referenced anthropological data on pre-colonial ethnic homelands with micro survey data from several rounds of the Afrobarometer Survey, pre-colonial centralization is found to be associated with a higher willingness to pay taxes. The results hold for the whole sample and in the regression discontinuity analysis on individuals that reside close to the borders of neighboring ethnic homelands with different levels of pre-colonial centralization. The higher tax compliance norm in pre-colonial centralized homelands seems to be due to the persistent culture to obey authority and not necessarily through the legacy of better-quality local institutions. We find that while respondents in pre-colonial centralized homelands command a significantly lower level of trust towards local leaders, they, on the other hand, have a stronger belief that they should obey rules coming from different authorities such as the tax authority, the court, and the government in power.
Speaker
Senior Researcher
(CMI and Syracuse University)

Merima Ali is Senior Researcher at Chr. Michelsen Institute and affiliated with Department of Economics at Syracuse University.

15 December 2020 15:00 - 16:00 CET
Social norms, pressures and corruption in tax administration with David Jackson

Recent theorizing around social norms has enabled novel kinds of empirical research into corruption, assessing how shared perceptions about the frequency and acceptability of corrupt practices influence individuals’ willingness to engage in such acts. Studies across various disciplines have begun to analyse corruption through a social norms lens, catching up with other fields where social norms theory has been effectively applied. This chapter reviews recent empirical research on social norms of corruption and identifies the empirical, methodological and theoretical contributions of this literature. It also points to several knowledge gaps that appear especially fruitful for future research to investigate. 

Speaker
Senior Advisor (U4)
U4 Anti Corruption Resource Centre, CMI

David is a Senior Adviser at U4 Anti Corruption Resource Centre and is heading the work on informal contexts of corruption. He is a political scientist specialising on governance and anticorruption, with a particular focus on the role of informal institutions. 

1 December 2020 15:00 - 16:00 CET
Implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for revenue collection in poor African countries with Odd-Helge Fjeldstad and Ole Therkildsen

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the economies of poor countries hard, particularly in Africa. This study examines how and to what extent the pandemic affects domestic revenue mobilisation in selected African countries. It also assesses the potential of various tax instruments to raise additional future revenues. The study will provide inputs to the preparation of Denmark’s new aid strategy 2021 on how domestic revenue mobilisation may affect future Danish aid to countries in Africa. 

Speakers
Research Professor, Coordinator: Tax and Public Finance
CMI

Odd-Helge Fjeldstad is Research Professor and coordinator of the tax and public finance research group at Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI). He has more than 30 years of experience from research and policy analysis in East and Southern Africa. He has published widely on tax and development. His research has appeared in international academic journals, such as The Economic Journal, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, World Development, Journal of Development Studies, and Journal of Modern African Studies, and in books by Cambridge University Press, ZED/University of Chicago Press, Edward Elgar and Routledge 

Emeritus Researcher
Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS)

Ole Therkildsen is Emeritus Researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS). He does research on taxation, democratization, corruption, and public service delivery in poor countries – especially East and Southern Africa. He is specifically interested in how their political economies shape relations of the state, bureaucracy, civil society, and the private sector. 

17 November 2020 15:00 - 16:00 CET
Do tax administrative interventions targeted at small businesses improve tax compliance and revenue collection? Evidence from Ugandan tax data with Maria Jouste

This paper evaluates the effects of two tax administrative interventions, which expanded taxpayer register and changed the electronic filing system of presumptive tax, on the number of small business taxpayers and presumptive tax revenues in Uganda. Using a difference-in-differences approach and administrative tax data covering both presumptive taxpayers and comparable small corporate income tax (CIT) payers, we find that the number of small business taxpayers filing tax returns and presumptive tax revenues increased substantially after interventions. We argue that interventions complement each other because both interventions were established around same years and the TREP not only focused on registering but also educating taxpayers. We analyse the cost-effectiveness of TREP and find that benefits outweigh costs.

Speaker
Research Associate
UNU-WIDER in Helsinki

Maria Jouste is a Research Associate at UNU-WIDER in Helsinki, where she works on topics related to taxation and tax-benefit microsimulation models. She is pursuing her PhD in Economics at University of Turku. Her research focuses on taxation and social protection in developing countries. Her recent research has included the evaluation of tax and administrative reforms using administrative tax data from Uganda. 

3 November 2020 15:00 - 16:00 CET
The TaxCapDev-network with Morten Bøås , Odd-Helge Fjeldstad and Sigrid K. Jacobsen

Questions related to domestic resource mobilisation, taxation, illegal capital flight and the utilisation of natural resources are some of the most important in the contemporary development debate. The TaxCapDev-network focuses on dissemination and sharing of research results, as well as bringing researchers, decision makers and activists together to discuss research findings and improve policy development in this important field. The network also contributes to increased collaboration between researchers from the Global North and South, and helps to promote South-South cooperation within this field of research. The network is coordinated by NUPI and CMI, in partnership with Tax Justice Network-Norway, and funded by the Research Council of Norway. At this webinar current work and future plans of the network will be presented and discussed. 

TaxCapDev slides

Speakers
Research Professor
Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI)

Morten is Research Professor at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) and works predominantly on issues concerning peace and conflict in Africa, including issues such as land rights and citizenship, conflicts, youths, ex-combatants and the new landscape of insurgencies and geopolitics. Morten manages the TaxCapDev-network jointly with Odd-Helge Fjeldstad. 

Research Professor, Coordinator: Tax and Public Finance
CMI

Odd-Helge Fjeldstad is Research Professor and coordinator of the tax and public finance research group at Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI). He has more than 30 years of experience from research and policy analysis in East and Southern Africa. He has published widely on tax and development. His research has appeared in international academic journals, such as The Economic Journal, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, World Development, Journal of Development Studies, and Journal of Modern African Studies, and in books by Cambridge University Press, ZED/University of Chicago Press, Edward Elgar and Routledge 

Executive Director
Tax Justice Network Norway

Sigrid is Executive Director of Tax Justice Network Norway. She has two decades of experience on changing tax and transparency policies on national, regional and global levels. She has frequent public appearances in media and as a speaker. She has co-authored a number of books and reports on the topic.

20 October 2020 15:00 - 16:00 CET
Tax collection, informal practises and power dynamics: A case study from Burundi with Guillaume Nicaise

Corruption in Burundi is systemic. Yet programmes aiming to support integrity and good governance are undermined by local-level relationships and informal practices by public agents. Here, a five-month investigation of tax collectors in Burundi reveals the rationale behind corrupt behaviours at street level. Anti-corruption reforms that take account of social and political pressures could point a way forward.

Read more about the research here: U4 blogpost and paper.

Speaker
Senior Adviser
CMI

Guillaume is a Senior Adviser at U4 Anti Corruption Resource Centre and leads the work on good governance and corruption risk management. He also works on public outsourcing and anti-corruption certification processes. Guillaume is an anthropologist, specialised on norms transfer and norms implementation, with a focus on good governance mechanisms (transparency, accountability and civil participation).