Taxation Toward Representation: Public Goods Provision, Tax Collection, and Democratic Accountability

While theoretical and historical work has explored the relationship between public goods, taxation, and the formation of democratic institutions, there is a considerable gap in empirical evidence. Haiti is piloting a system for managing federal transfers and collecting municipal taxes which provides an opportunity to study the efforts of a weak state with extremely low tax compliance as it attempts to formalize society. We have partnered with the mayor of one of the largest cities in the country to implement a city-wide RCT of public goods, tax collection, and public exposure of tax compliance to identify effective interventions and disentangle channels for transitioning from a zero-tax equilibrium as well as the impact of such efforts on participation in formal channels of accountability including voting as well as participation in informal taxation and other non-governmental forms of civic engagement.

RFP Cycle:
Spring 2019
  • Full project