Download this publication

The tax system is a key formal institution with a unique role in the social contract  between people and governments, as an essential source of revenue for governments to fund public services and programmes that benefit the community. It also provides an important entry point to explore how people engage with institutions across different contexts and the role of culture, beliefs, norms and perceptions in determining issues such as compliance with policies. This essay synthesizes findings from recent research on determinants of tax compliance and evasion, with a focus on African countries. The study starts with a short theoretical background on how a deeper understanding of trust and norms can enhance our understanding of voluntary compliance. It then examines how these factors vary across different contexts, taxpayers and tax bases and how these variations affect voluntary compliance. Finally, policy implications are discussed.

Odd-Helge Fjeldstad

Research Professor, Coordinator: Tax and Public Finance