The Fiscal State in Africa: Evidence from a century of growth

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Why do large differences in fiscal capacity exist between states in the Global South? We constructa comprehensive new dataset of tax and revenue collection for 46 African polities from 1900 to2015. Descriptive analyses show that many polities in Africa have been characterized by stronggrowth in real tax collection. As a next step, we employ these data to test theories of fiscal capac-ity in a long-run panel setting, using fixed-effects and causal estimation techniques. The resultsshow democratic institutions and interstate warfare can increase fiscal capacity, while governmentturnover reduces it. However, these factors are conditional on the availability of debt financingand external aid, which by themselves reduce incentives to invest in fiscal capacity. Leveragingnew data on exogenous movements in commodity prices, we show that resource income does notgenerally lead to lower capacity. These insights add important nuance to established theories ofstate-building.
Antal sidor56
StatusPublished - 2020 sep. 18


NamnAfrican Economic History Working Paper Series
FörlagAEHN. African Economic History Network

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Ekonomisk historia


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