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The paper examines the legacy of pre-colonial centralization on tax compliance norms of citizens in contemporary Uganda. Using a regression discontinuity analysis on neighboring ethnic homelands with different levels of pre-colonial centralization, we find that pre-colonial centralization is correlated with stronger norm for tax compliance. The result is explained by the legacy of location-specific capacity of centralized states in upholding authority and a strong social cohesion exhibited through higher interpersonal trust but not through trust in public institutions.  

Merima Ali

Senior Researcher

Odd-Helge Fjeldstad

Research Professor, Coordinator: Tax and Public Finance