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Everything changes to remain the same? State and tax reform in South Sudan*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 May 2016

Rens Twijnstra
Wageningen University, Special Chair for Humanitarian Aid and Reconstruction (HAR), P.O. Box 16 6700 AA, Wageningen, the Netherlands
Kristof Titeca*
Antwerp University, Institute of Development Policy and Management (IOB), Prinsstraat 13, B-2000 Antwerp, Belgium


South Sudan is in a unique combination of (post)-conflict reconstruction and the birth of a new state in which old policies are re-activated and new policies introduced. By looking at three case-studies of taxation and private sector regulation reforms, the paper will show how the overlapping and often contradictory regulatory frameworks of the state provide the setting for bricolage strategies by different actors. These actors, and particularly state officials, rely on a variety of institutional resources to implement, resist or remake certain regulatory measures. Although the breadth of regulatory measures has increased exponentially, the institutional corridor – the space in which bricolage is performed and on which various actors can rely – remains narrow. This space is contingent on wartime authority structures, and more particularly pre-existing Sudan's People Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) power structures, as well as a deep-rooted resistance to centralised control. Importantly, these regulatory practices are not fixed: intense periods of rearrangement of the social order or ‘open moments’ may provide a window of opportunity for regulatory reform.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 

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The authors have contributed equally to writing this article. They would like to thank the following people: Prof. Thea Hilhorst of the Special Chair for Humanitarian Aid and Reconstruction (HAR) Wageningen University; the anonymous reviewers; Mollie Gleiberman. The research described in this article was financially supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the IS Academy for Human Security in Fragile States Grant [Act number 20683, Contract number DEK0111286].


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