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Fiscal capacity and government accountability in sub-Saharan Africa

By Thushyanthan Baskaran and Arne Bigsten

Abstract

Historical evidence from the developed world suggests that the expansion of the mod- ern states’ fiscal capacity (i. e. its ability to tax citizens) eventually led to more democratic and less corrupt governments. Since sub-Saharan African countries are currently in a pro- cess of state building, we study whether a positive effect of fiscal capacity on government accountability prevails in contemporaneous sub-Saharan Africa, too. We conduct the em- pirical analysis with data covering 23 African countries over the 1960-2008 period. The results suggest that fiscal capacity increases government accountability in sub-Saharan Africa.Fiscal capacity; taxation; government accountability; democracy

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