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IFS-STICERD Seminar presented by Jon Weigel LSE

03 June 2020, 12:30 pm–1:45 pm

ifs

"Local elites as tax collectors: Experimental evidence from the DRC”

Event Information

Open to

UCL staff | UCL students

Availability

Yes

Organiser

Institute of Fiscal Studies

Location

Basement Seminar Room
IFS
7 Ridgmount Street
London
WC1E 7AE

Abstract: Historical states with low capacity often empowered local elites to collect taxes, despite the risk of mismanagement. Could this strategy raise revenues without undermining government legitimacy in fragile states today? We provide evidence from a field experiment in which the Provincial Govern- ment of Kasaï Central, in the DR Congo, randomly assigned city neighbor- hoods — spanning 48,000 households — to property tax collection conducted by agents of the tax ministry or by local city chiefs. Chief tax collection gen- erated 53% higher compliance and 38% higher revenues. Although chiefs collected slightly more bribes, they were more honest in assessing and ex- empting properties, and they caused citizens to have more trust in the for- mal state. Examining a hybrid treatment arm in which tax ministry agents consulted with chiefs, as well as other survey evidence, we find that chiefs achieved higher compliance because they could use local information to tar- get households with high payment propensity, not because they could better persuade households conditional on having visited them.

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82006265650?pwd=MFZPK2xiUC8ybSt1NWcxYVpBSkxrUT09 

Meeting ID: 820 0626 5650
Password: ifsSticerd

About the Speaker

Jon Weigel

at LSE

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