nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2019‒09‒23
six papers chosen by
Sam Sarpong
The University of Mines and Technology

  1. Assessing the Performance of African Tax Administrations: A Malawian Puzzle By Ligomeka, Waziona
  2. Eat Widely, Vote Wisely ? Lessons from a Campaign Against Vote Buying in Uganda By null null; Horacio Larreguy; Benjamin Marx; Otis Reid
  3. The Effect of Antimalarial Campaigns on Child Mortality and Fertility in Sub-Saharan Africa By Joshua Wilde; Bénédicte Apouey; Joseph Coleman; Gabriel Picone
  4. Ghana’s economic growth and welfare issues By Kwakwa, Paul Adjei
  5. Small Business Owners and Corporate Tax Responsibility in Nigeria: An Exploratory Study By Amaeshi, Kenneth; Adi, Bongo; Ikiebey, Godson
  6. Civil-Military Coordination in Peacebuilding: The Obstacle in Somalia By Chukwuma Obinwa

  1. By: Ligomeka, Waziona
    Abstract: We lack good indicators of the quality of national tax administrations, especially for low-income countries. The situation is, however, improving. Through the relatively new TADAT process (Tax Administration Diagnostic Assessment Tool), an increasing number of national tax administrations are receiving scores from teams of peer reviewers on how well they perform in nine key functions. That scoring process is intended primarily to serve management purposes, i.e. to indicate areas for potential performance improvement. But the TADAT scores are, inevitably, widely viewed as performance rankings. A revenue administration with a higher average TADAT score will be viewed as ‘better’ than one with a lower score. But how accurate are these implicit rankings? An analysis of the case of the Malawi Revenue Authority raises important questions about both the rankings and the broader question of how to identify good tax administration. The authority’s TADAT scores are very low. But its actual revenue collection performance is relatively good: compared to other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, it collects a relatively high proportion of GDP in tax, and is particularly successful in collecting direct taxes, especially from larger companies. A very high proportion of revenues are collected by the small Large Taxpayers Unit. Yet the unit uses only very basic digital technology to keep records on those companies. This is a puzzle. The likely explanation is that a small number of staff successfully monitor larger companies for revenue collection purposes using relatively informal, low-tech methods. There are two broader implications. One is that performance can vary considerably between different parts of the same organisation, and performance indicators intended to apply to the organisation as a whole may be misleading. The other is that we still have some way to go in both understanding and measuring the factors that lead to good tax administration.
    Keywords: Economic Development, Finance, Governance,
    Date: 2019
  2. By: null null (Harris School of Public Policy); Horacio Larreguy (Harvard University); Benjamin Marx (Département d'économie); Otis Reid (Massachusetts Institute of Technology [Cambridge] (MIT))
    Abstract: We estimate the effects of one of the largest anti-vote-buying campaigns ever studied—with half a million voters exposed across 1427 villages—in Uganda’s 2016 elections. Working with civil society organizations, we designed the study to estimate how voters and candidates responded to their campaign in treatment and spillover villages, and how impacts varied with campaign intensity. Despite its heavy footprint, the campaign did not reduce politician offers of gifts in exchange for votes. However, it had sizable effects on people’s votes. Votes swung from well-funded incumbents (who buy most votes) towards their poorly-financed challengers. We argue the swing arose from changes in village social norms plus the tactical response of candidates. While the campaign struggled to instill norms of refusing gifts, it leveled the electoral playing field by convincing some voters to abandon norms of reciprocity—thus accepting gifts from politicians but voting for their preferred candidate.
    Keywords: Elections; Voting Behavior; Field Experiment; Africa
    JEL: C93 D72 O55
    Date: 2019–07
  3. By: Joshua Wilde (MPIDR - Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research - Max-Planck-Gesellschaft); Bénédicte Apouey (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Joseph Coleman (USF - University of South Florida); Gabriel Picone (USF - University of South Florida)
    Abstract: We examine the extent to which recent declines in child mortality and fertility in Sub-Saharan Africa can be attributed to insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs). Exploiting the rapid increase in ITNs since the mid-2000s, we employ a difference-in-differences estimation strategy to identify the causal effect of ITNs on mortality and fertility. We show that the ITN distribution campaigns reduced all-cause child mortality, but surprisingly increased total fertility rates in the short run in spite of reduced desire for children and increased contraceptive use. We explain this paradox in two ways. First, we show evidence for an unexpected increase in fecundity and sexual activity due to the better health environment after the ITN distribution. Second, we show evidence that the effect on fertility is positive only temporarily – lasting only 1-3 years after the beginning of the ITN distribution programs – and then becomes negative. Taken together, these results suggest the ITN distribution campaigns may have caused fertility to increase unexpectedly and temporarily, or that these increases may just be a tempo effect – changes in fertility timing which do not lead to increased completed fertility.
    Keywords: Malaria,Bed nets,Child mortality,Fertility,Sub-Saharan Africa
    Date: 2019–09
  4. By: Kwakwa, Paul Adjei
    Abstract: Ghana has experienced massive economic growth performance in recent time which on the average has been higher than that of the sub-region. With such track record, many have monitored its effect on the livelihoods of Ghanaians. Available data indicates that growth of the economy helped the country to meet the Millennium Development Goal one of reducing poverty by half even before the turn of 2015. Following the commencement of the commercial production of oil, Ghana’s economic growth has shifted from the agricultural sector to the service suggesting structural transformation has taken place. However, such a change has not promoted high and secure incomes and improved the livelihoods of Ghanaians since the manufacturing sector needed to absorb many workforce has seen a decline. There has also been some job increment but majority are vulnerable and find themselves in the informal sector. Unemployment among people with secondary and tertiary level qualification remains quite high. Although poverty has seen a massive decline, there still remains a high level of income inequality. Health outcomes have however improved. To sustain and benefit more from economic growth in the future, it is important for policy makers to improve the quality of the labour force. This requires the need for policy makers and government to make adequate preparation for the many SHS students who have benefitted from the free SHS policy and the first batch is expected to graduate next academic year to be absorbed into the next level of the educational ladder. Also, a stronger collaboration between academia and industry in the country is needed to train students to meet the needs of industries. The manufacturing sector needs to be given a big boost to help promote sustainable employment. Government of Ghana’s commitment to improve the health needs of Ghanaians should be strengthened.
    Keywords: Economic growth; Poverty; Welfare; Unemployment; Health outcomes
    JEL: I3 J6 O4
    Date: 2019–09–10
  5. By: Amaeshi, Kenneth; Adi, Bongo; Ikiebey, Godson
    Abstract: This study explores how small business owners talk about their tax responsibility, especially in non-enabling institutional contexts. It identifies two main types of tax responsibility discourses amongst these business owners: (1) duty-based and (2) rights-based. The duty-based talks see taxation primarily as the citizens’ responsibility to governments, which should always be fulfilled unconditionally, while rights-based talks see taxation primarily as the government’s responsibility to citizens, which should be fulfilled first, in order for the government to earn the trust of citizens for higher tax compliance. Further analyses reveal that these talks are anchored on four common discursive themes – i.e. socio-economic development, legal, moral, and philanthropic themes, which business owners respond to in different ways. The paper argues that understanding these diverse responses will help tax regulators respond to taxpayers’ attitudes effectively.
    Keywords: Economic Development, Finance, Governance,
    Date: 2019
  6. By: Chukwuma Obinwa (University of Minho Portugal)
    Abstract: The complex nature of peacebuilding as an instrument of conflict resolution has increasingly collided the military and the civilian actors to share the same field of operation, thereby undermining the independence, impartiality and neutrality of either the military or the civilian actors. Despite the fact the military has often accentuated the need for “correspondence†, the civilian actors have conveyed concern regarding the effect of civil-military coordination on the capacity to remain independent, neutral and impartial in undertaking their main functions. This paper examines the cultural, organizational, operational and normative factors that condition the approaches of the civilian actors such as nongovernmental organizations and the military actors toward the civil-military coordination. This paper also discusses the obstacles to the (CIMIC) and offers more effective recommendations for enhancing the civil-military coordination (CIMIC) in order to achieve the economic, political and security order sought in the Somalia peacebuilding process.
    Keywords: Peacebuilding, Peace operation, Coordination, Obstacle, and Somalia
    Date: 2019–04

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