An effective tax system is the bedrock of any modern functioning state. Taxation undergirds the ability of the state to undertake the multiplicities of functions that confer statehood. Chief among these, are the provision of state security, effective market regulation, and all importantly, the provision of public goods and services. Creating an effective tax system that collects enough revenue is not an easy task for any government but developing countries, in particular, face serious constraints. That is why their tax-to-GDP ratios tend to be low, 12 percent of GDP, on average. For many of these countries these ratios have been stagnant and, in some cases, declining over time. Many traditional sources that would substitute for tax revenue, such as Official Development Assistance (ODA) and debt financing are stagnant, falling, or in the case of debt, unsustainable in the long run. New and unprecedented challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic are also putting new pressures on revenue. All this places domestic revenue mobilisation at the heart of the development agenda.
The series of launch events starts with a webinar featuring a keynote address from Adnan Khan, Chief Economist at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), followed by a high-level panel discussion on why tax research and evidence matter for economic growth in developing countries and four presentations on papers that have shaped tax policy in developing countries in the past 15 years. The event will take place on the 26th of April and you can register here.
The other events in the series include a closed-door online workshop for revenue staff technical personnel on "Admin data and research methodologies" on the 15th June 2023 and a book review of ‘Rebellion, Rascals and Revenue: Tax Follies and Wisdom through the Ages’ by Michael Keen and Joel Slemrod. You can register your interest here.