No Greater Representation with Taxation : Experimental Evidence from Ghana and Uganda on Citizen Action toward Oil and Taxes

TitleNo Greater Representation with Taxation : Experimental Evidence from Ghana and Uganda on Citizen Action toward Oil and Taxes
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2015
Authorsde la Cuesta B, Milner H, Nielson D, Knack S
Number of Pages1–54
AbstractSeminal contributions to political economy argue that citizens will more readily engage in political action when they are being taxed, especially compared to when their governments receive nontax revenue from oil. In part this tendency is said to enable the well-known resource curse. We perform two substantively identical experiments with behavioral outcomes on nationally representative subject pools in Ghana and Uganda to estimate citizens' willingness to monitor spending behavior across two sources of government revenue: oil production and taxes. Interestingly, sizable numbers willingly sign petitions, donate money, and send SMS messages in order to monitor spending for both revenue sources. However, we find that neither Ghanaians nor Ugandans are more likely to take action for tax revenues than for oil. If anything, Ghanaians more readily pay costs to monitor oil compared to taxes. The results call into question a key political economy premise that taxation causes representation.
URLhttps://elibrary.worldbank.org/doi/abs/10.1596/1813-9450-8137
DOI10.1596/1813-9450-8137