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.