Francois Gerard

Francois Gerard is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at Columbia University. His primary research interests are at the intersection of Public Economics and Development. He is also interested in Environmental Economics.

Content by Francois Gerard
  • Blog post

    Mitigating welfare losses for workers after a layoff: Evidence from Brazil

    Across the development path, social insurance programs become an increasingly important part of governments’ role, and the SDGs have highlighted the importance of such social protection schemes for development. Informality and low state capacity, however, impose challenges for policy design that may have consequences for the insurance value of such programs, and there is...

    22 Aug 2019 | Francois Gerard, Joana Naritomi

  • Publication - Policy Brief

    Social protection and job displacement in developing countries

    Across the development path, social insurance programmes such as job displacement insurance schemes become an increasingly important part of governments’ role. This brief uses unique administrative data from São Paulo, Brazil, to study displaced workers’ need for insurance and the insurance value of the two most common government-mandated job displacement...

    19 Aug 2019 | Francois Gerard, Joana Naritomi

  • Publication - Growth Brief

    Value Added Tax in developing countries: Lessons from recent research

    The Value Added Tax has become one of the most important instruments of revenue mobilisation in the developing world. A recent and growing body of research highlights its strengths and some of the challenges it faces. Today, Value Added Taxes (VAT) exist in more than 160 countries, including in many developing countries that have modernised their tax systems in the past...

    6 Jun 2018 | Francois Gerard, Joana Naritomi

  • Project

    Information, fiscal capacity, and tax enforcement: An experimental evaluation

    With the recent decline in revenues from trade tariffs and official aid, developing countries have to rely increasingly on domestic taxes for revenue collection. One of the most important potential sources of domestic tax revenue is the value-added tax (VAT), a tax instrument that has been increasingly adopted by developing countries over the past decades. In theory, the...

    26 Oct 2017 | Francois Gerard, Miguel Almunia, Jonas Hjort, Justine Knebelmann

  • Project

    Strengthening consumers' participation in VAT compliance strategies in Rwanda

    This project seeks to develop a better understanding of the potential for strengthening consumers’ participation in VAT compliance strategies in Rwanda. This research involves a collaboration with the Rwanda Revenue Authority to investigate how consumer-based enforcement approaches can boost the enforcement capacity of the government.  We will contextualise international...

    25 Oct 2017 | Francois Gerard, Joana Naritomi, Andrew Zeitlin, Anders Jensen

  • Project

    Unemployment insurance and consumption in a context of high informality

    A large share of the labour force in developing countries works informally. The lack of a verifiable employment registration not only limits the ability of governments to levy payroll or income taxes, it also constraints targeting of social insurance schemes such as unemployment insurance (UI). Along the development path, the share of formal employment systematically...

    29 Aug 2017 | Francois Gerard, Joana Naritomi

  • Publication - Project Report

    An analysis of discrepancies in tax declarations submitted under value-added tax in Uganda

    2 May 2017 | Miguel Almunia, Francois Gerard, Jonas Hjort

  • Project

    The economic and fiscal impacts of special tax treatments in Value Added Tax (VAT) systems

    Many countries rely on Value Added Tax (VAT) systems to raise revenues. On theoretical grounds, a VAT with a uniform rate and no exemptions is equivalent to a sales tax and is an efficient tax instrument. Moreover, from a tax administration perspective, the VAT can be more effective than a retail sales tax due to its self-enforcing properties along the supply chain. These...

    14 Dec 2016 | Francois Gerard, Joana Naritomi

  • Project

    The impacts of an innovative audit strategy on the amount and incidence of retail tax evasion: Mystery shoppers and electronic billing machines

    Rwanda in 2013 mandated VAT-registered businesses to use certified electronic billing machines (EBMs) with a promise to improve business efficiency and tax compliance. These machines specify the correct tax amount and send data for each transaction in real-time to the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA). Although current data confirms the effectiveness of using EBMs as measured...

    8 Nov 2016 | Nada Eissa, Andrew Zeitlin, Francois Gerard

  • Publication - Working Paper

    Fiscal capacity and tax revenues in Uganda

    1 Oct 2015 | Miguel Almunia, Francois Gerard, Jonas Hjort

  • Project

    Fiscal capacity and tax revenues in Uganda

    Fiscal capacity is one of the most important constraints on economic growth (Besley and Persson, 2013). In developing countries, the state’s ability to tax its citizens is typically limited by (a) the cost of acquiring accurate information on taxable activities, and (b) the tax agency’s capacity to enforce the tax rules. The literature has highlighted the central role...

    1 Dec 2013 | Miguel Almunia, Francois Gerard, Jonas Hjort