There is a widespread concern that, in some parts of the world, governments are unable to exercise effective authority. When governments fail, more sinister forces thrive: warlords, arms smugglers, narcotics enterprises, kidnap gangs, terrorist networks, armed militias. Why do governments fail? This book explores an old idea that has returned to prominence: that authority, effectiveness, accountability and responsiveness is closely related to the ways in which governments are financed. It matters that governments tax their citizens rather than live from oil revenues and foreign aid, and it matters how they tax them. Taxation stimulates demands for representation, and an effective revenue authority is the central pillar of state capacity. Using case studies from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America, this book presents and evaluates these arguments, updates theories derived from European history in the light of conditions in contemporary poorer countries, and draws conclusions for policy-makers.
1. Introduction: taxation and state-building in developing countries Deborah Bräutigam; 2. Between coercion and contract: competing narratives on taxation and governance Mick Moore; 3. Capacity, consent and tax collection in post-communist states Gerald M. Easter; 4. Taxation and coercion in rural China Thomas P. Bernstein and Xiaobo Lü; 5. Mass taxation and state–society relations in East Africa Odd-Helge Fjeldstad and Ole Therkildsen; 6. Contingent capacity: export taxation and state-building in Mauritius Deborah Bräutigam; 7. Tax bargaining and nitrate exports: Chile 1880-1930 Carmenza Gallo; 8. Associational taxation: a pathway into the informal sector? Anuradha Joshi and Joseph Ayee; 9. Rethinking institutional capacity and tax regimes: the case of the sino-foreign salt inspectorate in republican China Julia Strauss; 10. Tax reform and state-building in a globalised world Odd-Helge Fjeldstad and Mick Moore.
"This book does a masterful job of clarifying the centrality of taxation as a means to build both states and societies. Its analytic contribution is significant. It also offers an excellent set of case studies that demonstrate how government can improve revenue raising while also promoting the general welfare of the polity. The neat combination of theory and cases ensures that this exciting collective endeavor will shape both scholarship and policy-making for years to come."
Margaret Levi, Jere L. Bacharach Professor of International Studies, University of Washington
"The news is in: how much and how states tax their populations makes a tremendous difference to how well those populations live. And more taxes can actually coincide with better lives. In a series of well crafted studies, Brautigam, Moore and Fjeldstad show exactly how taxation - from coercive to contractual - makes a difference to national well being."
Charles Tilly, Joseph L. Buttenwieser Professor of Social Science, Columbia University
"Ranging across continents and political regimes, Brautigam, Fjeldstad, Moore and their colleagues provide lucid, dispassionate analysis of one of the most crucial issues in the contemporary political economy of development. Taxes are the cornerstone of any modern society, but for poor countries the capacity to tax can be the difference between chaos and development. This book skillfully dissects the ways in which global models have failed to serve the interests of poor countries and provides careful suggestions as to what actually works. Policy-makers and scholars alike should be grateful to have such a well-crafted, finely-balanced contribution to a topic too often mired in polemic and ideology."
Peter Evans, Professor of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley
"The individual chapters are empirically rich, thoughtfully argued, and nicely contextualized in the broader political economy literature on taxation. This book serves as an extremely valuable introduction and overview to the main debates as they apply to the developing world."
Perspectives on Politics, Hilary Appel, Claremont McKenna College