Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Publications

 

Cover image of international taxation paper
January 22, 2020

International Taxation and Developing Countries

International tax issues are a concern for both developed and developing countries, with evidence of aggressive tax planning by multinational enterprises (MNEs). MNEs are able to exploit weaknesses in the design of the international tax framework to reduce their tax liabilities. 

Peter Mullins
Cover image for Senegal DRM case study
January 21, 2020

Senegal: Making Domestic Resource Mobilization Work to Sustain Growth and Improve Service Delivery

Senegal’s recent economic performance is impressive. For the first time, Senegal has achieved a GDP growth rate of more than 6 percent for three consecutive years (2015–2017), and per capita GDP has increased at an annual average of 4.1 percent. In parallel, progress in fiscal revenues has been recorded, with the ratio of average revenues to GDP increasing by 5.7 percentage points between 2000-2002 and 2014-2017, placing Senegal above the regional average of 15 percent.

Front cover of Zambia domestic resource mobilization paper
December 11, 2019

How Erratic Tax Policies Are Impeding Revenue Mobilization in Zambia

This case study assesses whether Zambia’s tax and fiscal policies have been impeded by political and technical constraints. Tax policy is a deliberate—yet intricate—process requiring not just well-measured choices, but also stability. Zambia has undertaken several tax reforms that have included broadening the tax base, establishing a revenue collection agency, and introducing a value-added tax (VAT). 

Ramos Emmanuel Mabugu and Eddie Rakabe
Image of sugar coming out of soda can
November 12, 2019

Taxing “Bads”: An Overview of Research Initiatives

This note outlines the organizations and research initiatives currently addressing taxation of tobacco, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened beverages—the “bads”—to help navigate the landscape of existing research and identify gaps and opportunities for further work.

Clock with SDGs in background
June 21, 2018

Domestic Resource Mobilization in Low-Income Countries: Proposal for a Surge in Multilateral Support

Rising debt vulnerability in low-income countries (LICs) is emerging as a front-burner issue. Analysts at the IMF and elsewhere are tracking increases in public debt ratios that had fallen after the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative. Forty percent of LICs are either in, or at high risk of, debt distress. Many factors have contributed to rising debt-to-GDP ratios: falling commodity prices, deteriorating fiscal balances, conflict, and corruption, among others. The larger fiscal deficits are fully or partially accounted for by increased public investment in about half of LICs. Which brings us to the challenge of financing the SDGs.

Cover of Policy Paper 118
February 8, 2018

Tax and Development: New Frontiers of Research and Action

This paper looks at estimates of the potential gains from taxing across borders, alongside largely domestic measures such as property tax, personal income tax, VAT, and tobacco taxes. It finds that while action on cross-border taxation could yield additional tax take in the region of one percent of GDP, in many countries measures targeting the domestic tax base might deliver something in the region of nine percent. The main enabler is political commitment.

Maya Forstater
Cover of brief on Tax and Development
February 8, 2018

Tax and Development: New Frontiers of Research and Action (Brief)

Domestic measures have greater potential for raising tax yields over time. Rough estimates indicate that there may be $9 of additional tax capacity from domestic policy measures for every $1 from international action. The main enabler is political commitment.

Maya Forstater
July 1, 2015

Strengthening the Addis Accord

There are 20 pages covering the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. And while they are inevitably bubble-wrapped in diplo-speak and hat-tipping, there is a solid package of proposals nestled within. They cover domestic public finance, private finance, international public finance, trade, debt, technology, data and systemic issues. Amongst many other things, the Agenda calls for more tax and better tax (less regressive, more focused on pollution and tobacco). And it is long and specific on base erosion, tax evasion and competition and tax cooperation. It calls for financial inclusion and cheaper remittances. The draft discusses blended finance and a larger role for market-based instruments to support infrastructure rollout, as well as a new measure of “Total Official Support for Sustainable Development.” It calls for Multilateral Development Bank reform including new graduation criteria and scaling up. And it suggests a global compact to guarantee a universal package of basic social services and a second compact covering infrastructure. Finally, the draft has a good section on technology including the need for public finance and flexibility on intellectual property rights.

Finding Cash for Infrastructure in Addis: Blending, Lending, and Guarantees in Finance for Development
June 19, 2015

Finding Cash for Infrastructure in Addis: Blending, Lending and Guarantees in Finance for Development

The total scale of incremental investment requirements in infrastructure in developing countries has been estimated at around USD 1 trillion a year, with a range of related studies suggesting numbers between $815 billion to $1.3 trillion. While all such numbers are open to considerable debate, and were not designed to measure the cost of delivering the specific SDG infrastructure targets, they suggest the likely scale of the financing challenge for an SDG agenda which includes universal coverage to adequate housing, water, sanitation, modern energy and communications technologies.