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Does democratisation foster effective taxation? Evidence from Benin*

  • Giulia Piccolino (a1)

Abstract

Fiscal sociology has alleged the existence of a mutually reinforcing effect between the emergence of representative government and effective taxation. This paper looks at Benin, a low-income country that successfully democratised in the early 1990s. It finds that Benin appears to have reinforced its extractive capacities since democratisation. However, the effect of democratisation has been indirect, while the influence of the International Financial Institutions (IFI) and the size of the country's informal sector have played a more direct role. Nevertheless, the hypothesis that effective taxation is based on a quasi-consensual relationship between the state and the taxpayers finds some confirmation.

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This article has been drafted as part of the research project ‘The Economic, Social and Political Consequences of Democratic Reforms. A Quantitative and Qualitative Comparative Analysis’ (COD), funded by a European Research Council Starting Grant (Grant Agreement no. 262873, ‘Ideas’, 7th Framework Programme of the EU). The Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation, which funds the author's current position, has also supported the drafting of the article. The author would like to thank Giovanni Carbone, Alexander Stroh, Matthias Hounkpé and participants to the COD workshop held at the Università degli Studi di Milano in May 2013 for useful comments.

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Entrepreneur representative, Cotonou, 2.4.2013.
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