DP13688 Taking State-Capacity Research to the Field: Insights from Collaborations with Tax Authorities

Author(s): Dina D. Pomeranz, José Vila-Belda
Publication Date: April 2019
Programme Areas: Public Economics, Development Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=13688

No modern state can exist in the long term without effective taxation. Recent research emerging from close collaboration of academics with tax authorities has shed new light on how states can build such tax capacity. Using both randomized and natural experiments, these partnerships have not only opened access to new types of data, but have also stimulated new perspectives and research questions. While much of research in public finance had historically assumed that a tax in the law is a tax that is collected, exciting new research takes an empirical look inside the black box of tax administration. It addresses issues ranging from the role of information and digitalization, to taxpayer behavior or the link between taxation and citizens' relationship to the state. This paper provides a brief overview of some of this research, as well as practical advice for those interested in implementing research in partnership with tax authorities or other large public entities.