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Taxation, Responsiveness and Accountability in Sub-Saharan Africa
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    Kananovich, Volha 2018. Framing the Taxation-Democratization Link: An Automated Content Analysis of Cross-National Newspaper Data. The International Journal of Press/Politics, Vol. 23, Issue. 2, p. 247.

    Gatt, Leah and Owen, Oliver 2018. Direct Taxation and State-Society Relations in Lagos, Nigeria. Development and Change, Vol. 49, Issue. 5, p. 1195.

    KATO, JUNKO and TANAKA, SEIKI 2018. Does taxation lose its role in contemporary democratisation? State revenue production revisited in the third wave of democratisation. European Journal of Political Research,

    Lust, Ellen and Rakner, Lise 2018. The Other Side of Taxation: Extraction and Social Institutions in the Developing World. Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 21, Issue. 1, p. 277.

    van den Boogaard, Vanessa Prichard, Wilson Benson, Matthew S. and Milicic, Nikola 2018. Tax Revenue Mobilization in Conflict-affected Developing Countries. Journal of International Development, Vol. 30, Issue. 2, p. 345.

    Grossman, Shelby Phillips, Jonathan and Rosenzweig, Leah R. 2018. Opportunistic Accountability: State–Society Bargaining Over Shared Interests. Comparative Political Studies, Vol. 51, Issue. 8, p. 979.

    Azime, Hassen Ramakrishna, Gollagari and Asfaw, Melesse 2017. Studies on Economic Development and Growth in Selected African Countries. p. 291.

    von Haldenwang, Christian and von Schiller, Armin 2016. The Politics of Taxation: Introduction to the Special Section. The Journal of Development Studies, Vol. 52, Issue. 12, p. 1685.

    Mascagni, Giulia 2016. Aid and Taxation in Ethiopia. The Journal of Development Studies, Vol. 52, Issue. 12, p. 1744.

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Book description

It is increasingly argued that bargaining between citizens and governments over tax collection can provide a foundation for the development of responsive and accountable governance in developing countries. However, while intuitively attractive, surprisingly little research has captured the reality and complexity of this relationship in practice. This book provides the most complete treatment of the connections between taxation and accountability in developing countries, providing both new evidence and an invaluable starting point for future research. Drawing on cross-country econometric evidence and detailed case studies from Ghana, Kenya and Ethiopia, Wilson Prichard shows that reliance on taxation has, in fact, increased responsiveness and accountability by expanding the political power wielded by taxpayers. Critically, however, processes of tax bargaining have been highly varied, frequently long term and contextually contingent. Capturing this diversity provides novel insight into politics in developing countries and how tax reform can be designed to encourage broader governance gains.


'This book is a breakthrough in the study of the politics of taxation. It develops a powerful theory that links taxation to representation, a statistical analysis that supersedes (and overturns) many earlier studies, and three sharply observed case studies that show the theory in action. Prichard’s analysis will dramatically improve our understanding of fiscal politics and should be widely read by both scholars and policymakers.'

Michael L. Ross - University of California, Los Angeles

'By far the most coherent, informed and rigorous treatment of the claim that taxation can stimulate better governance. This is the point of departure for anyone wanting to research the issue further.’

Mick Moore - Professorial Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex

'Taxation and the question of how social contracts are formed (or not) is fast becoming one of the hot topics of debate in contemporary Africa. This book represents the best attempt yet to describe the new dynamics of tax bargaining on the continent and what they mean for the relationship between citizens and the state. The rich combination of econometric and case study analysis, combined with clear prose and important insights, mean that this volume should be read by everyone interested in the prospects for progressive economic and political change in Africa - and beyond.'

Nic Cheeseman - Associate Professor, Oxford University and joint editor of African Affairs

‘Taxation and politics are closely related. Much has been written in recent years … but, as most who have contributed to this subject will be the first to admit, as yet we do not really have a deep understanding of the complex and often indirect relations between taxation and political development. This book moves us several important steps down the road to better understanding. The author does an admirable job of setting out the basic issues in a clear analytical framework that poses the key questions. … The analysis and the approach of this book is essential reading for anyone interested in tax policy in developing countries and has much to offer to readers interested in the politics of tax policy (or, indeed, of public policy more generally) in any country.’

Richard M. Bird - Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto

‘In development circles it has become almost axiomatic that those who are taxed in return demand accountability from their governments, and thus that wide taxes bases lead to democratic advances. Prichard’s path-breaking book, using both econometrics and multiple comparative case studies, provides the first in-depth assessment of this proposition for Africa. He answers, 'Maybe yes … but the links are much more complex and contextually driven than most have assumed.' The book is a 'must read' for those who shape development policies and political economists alike.’

David K. Leonard - Retired Dean and Professor, University of California, Berkeley

'This book gives us a detailed and comprehensive bridge between theory and practice. Its foundations are in careful case studies, its superstructure is a thoughtful and extended treatment of the tax bargaining or 'fiscal contract' literature, and its roadway takes us to important implications for policymakers and aid donors - for example, that the proliferation of tax breaks not only weakens public revenue but it also corrodes politics in a fundamental way. I recommend it energetically to students of comparative politics, tax specialists and aid officials.'

James Mahon - Woodrow Wilson Professor of Political Science, Williams College

'Wilson Prichard addresses one of the most opaque and yet most pertinent questions for the current generation of political scientists studying Africa: have social contracts emerged and are these generating accountability over tax reform? … Prichard’s analysis of tax responsiveness and accountability in sub-Saharan Africa is the most thorough and accomplished to date.'

Dominic Burbidge Source: African Affairs

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