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Accepted Paper:

Sub-national revenues, identities, and quasi-voluntary tax compliance - A Comparative Study of Zambia and Sierra Leone  
Sripriya Iyengar Srivatsa (University of Cambridge)

Paper short abstract:

I ask how the configuration of individual identities impact the success of tax reform at the sub-national levels by comparing cases of Sierra Leone and Zambia.

Paper long abstract:

Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni, among others, have shown the unique position of Africa in the process of coloniality and how knowledge within colonialism and imperialism have been central to controlling and obscuring African bodies and minds (Ndlovu-Gatsheni, 2018). This project proposes a comparative study of sub-national revenue mobilisation efforts in Sierra Leone and Zambia within the narrative of the legacy of colonialism. The main outcome of state capacity I study is the ability to generate a steady system of revenue collection and spending at the sub-national level, with a particular focus on property taxes. A large body of literature examines the legacy of colonialism on state capacity through an institutional lens (Acemoglu and James A Robinson 2012; Kohli 2004; Waldner 2018). My research will contribute to the literature on state capacity and development by drawing on the theoretical framework of Akerlof and Kranton (2000) to show how individual perceptions of state capacity can significantly impact reform agenda. This framework explains in a binary setting that economic decisions of an individual are a product of their identities (e.g., gender, nationality, occupation etc.). The vestiges of colonial tax practices persist, and local governments across the two countries struggle to establish legitimacy in the shadow of chieftains. My work aims to inform policy on managing incentives to implement change with citizen support at the sub-national level.

Panel P52
Towards rethinking and decolonizing Africa's development futures: the place of indigenous knowledge
  Session 2