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Oxfam America will host this book launch and discussion on the role of civil society and donors in building better tax systems and strengthening the social contract.
The newly published book, Taxing Africa, offers a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the crucial debates around taxation and development in Africa. Written by leading international experts, it examines issues from tax evasion by multinational corporations and African elites to how ordinary people navigate complex webs of 'informal' local taxation, examining the challenges and the potential for reform.
Tax is foundational to the social contract between states and citizens. However, open civic space and citizen engagement is necessary for bargaining around taxation to lead to more equitable and effective public spending and governance that is more accountable.
In 2015, under the Addis Tax Initiative, partner countries committed to stepping up their efforts on domestic resource mobilization (DRM), and donors committed to doubling their support to DRM programs by 2020. However, most donor support in the DRM area thus far has focused on technical assistance to partner governments, with the aim of increasing the quality of tax policy and the effectiveness of tax administration. According to OECD data, only 3% of DRM assistance in 2015 was channeled to local civil society organizations.
The International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD) and Oxfam, along with the International Budget Partnership (IBP) and Center for Global Development (CGD) are hosting an event to launch this new book, followed by a dialogue on the role of civil society and donors in building more equitable and efficient tax systems and strengthening the social contract in Africa.
9:00am Breakfast and Registration
9:30am Presentation on Taxing Africa
Dr. Wilson Prichard, ICTD
9:50am Panel Discussion:
Professor Nora Lustig, Center for Global Development
Mr. Abebe Aemro Selassie, Director, IMF African Department International Budget Partnership tax lead (TBC)
Mr. Nathan Coplin, Senior Policy Advisor, Oxfam America (moderator)
In a recent paper, Kate Ambler and coauthors studied the impact of one-season cash transfers for agricultural investment in Senegal and Malawi, using data from a randomized control trial (RCT) in each country. They found evidence that transfers reduced both the number of decision makers and female decision making in Senegal in the short-run, particularly for measures directly related to agriculture. However, the effects disappeared two years after the transfers. Conversely, the authors find transfers in the Malawi program led to robust transitory increases in these measures, seeing a greater impact related to the number of decision makers in the household persisting after two year period. Join us for the latest CGD Invited Research Forum to discuss these opposing findings on the effects of cash transfers on household decision making.
Indian agriculture remains vulnerable to the vagaries of weather, and the looming threat of climate change may expose this vulnerability further. Using district-level data on temperature, rainfall and crop production, Siddharth Hari’s paper first documents a long-term trend of rising temperatures, declining average precipitation and increase in extreme precipitation events. One key finding is that the impact of temperature and rainfall are felt only in the extreme: when temperatures are much higher, rainfall is significantly lower, and the number of “dry days” greater is than normal. He also finds that these impacts are significantly more adverse in unirrigated areas (and hence rainfed crops) compared to irrigated areas. Can policy makers react to the challenges of climate change and find ways to get “more crop for every drop?"
Estimating intergenerational mobility in developing countries is difficult because matched parent-child income records are rarely available and education is measured very coarsely. In particular, there are no established methods for comparing educational mobility for subsamples of the population when the education distribution is changing over time.
In their recent paper, Sam Asher and coauthors present new methods and new administrative data to overcome this gap, and study intergenerational mobility across groups and across space in India. They find that the intergenerational mobility for the population as a whole has remained constant since liberalization, but cross-group changes have been substantial. Rising mobility among historically marginalized "Scheduled Castes" is almost exactly offset by declining intergenerational mobility among Muslims, a comparably sized group that has few constitutional protections. These findings contest the conventional wisdom that marginalized groups in India have been catching up on average. The paper also explores heterogeneity across space, generating the first high-resolution geographic measures of intergenerational mobility across India, with results across 5600 rural subdistricts and 2300 cities and towns.