Public disclosure and property tax compliance: A field experiment in Kampala, Uganda

Policy brief Tax and State Effectiveness

This policy brief examines the impact of public disclosure of tax behaviour in Kampala, Uganda.

  • Property rates are an important source of revenue for Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), making up over 38% of own source revenues in 2019/20. However, compliance with this tax remains an ongoing challenge.
  • Through a randomised experiment, we study the effect of public disclosure of tax behaviour. We test the effectiveness of two separate approaches to public disclosure: reporting delinquents and recognising compliers.
  • We find positive direct effects of public reporting on compliance for those warned, but negative knock-on effects for taxpayers who receive the reports. Recognition of compliant taxpayers backfires, with both direct and knock-on effects reducing compliance. Overall, we find that simple enforcement reminders are a more effective policy tool for raising compliance.
  • Beyond enforcement messages, our findings suggest more can be done to link rates to tangible benefits for citizens, improve relations with KCCA officials, and address information gaps. These can all play a part in raising compliance in the long run.