Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Institute for Futures Studies

No 2010:10: On Tax Efforts and Colonial Heritage in Africa

Thandika Mkandawire ()
Additional contact information
Thandika Mkandawire: London School of Economics and Political Science. Department of International Development, Postal: London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE, UK

Abstract: One commonly observed phenomena about taxation in Africa are regional differences and the fact that southern African countries have higher levels of shares of taxation in GDP. This article argues that the major source of differences in ‘tax effort’ is the colonial histories of various countries. Using standard measures of ‘tax effort in a panel data framework and dividing colonial Africa along forms of incorporation into the colonial system, it shows that African countries and others with similar colonial histories have higher levels of ‘tax effort’. However, the difference disappears when we control for the colonial factor. These results hold under different model specifications.

Keywords: taxation; GDP; regional differences; colonial histories; tax effort

JEL-codes: O20; O40; O55

42 pages, October 5, 2010

Price: 25 SEK

Note: ISSN: 1652X ISBN: 978-91-85619-71-9

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