Technology and Citizen Engagement in Local Tax Collection: Evidence from Ghana
Ghana, like most other developing countries, is characterized by low state-capacity for tax collection. The lack of tax revenues for public good provision is felt especially keenly at the local government level, where revenue collections and hence public good expenditures are minimal. In this study, we propose to conduct a pilot randomized controlled trial of a new technology that seeks to help local governments in Ghana increase property tax revenues. The main treatment group of households will receive visits by revenue collectors using the new technology, which replaces cash payment of taxes with electronic billing and payment. Two further, more exploratory, treatment groups will also receive presentations by national service personnel explaining the costs of noncompliance under the new technology or the benefits of compliance. The pilot will provide critical inputs to inform the design of a larger full-scale RCT including refining implementation details, measurement instruments, plausible effect sizes, and power calculations.