When ‘Pockets of effectiveness’ matter politically: Extractive industry regulation and taxation in Uganda and Tanzania

Tue 1 Jun 2021
Time: 15:00 Location: Zoom Language: English Available seats: 200

We are excited to announce this semester’s fifth and last Tax for Development Webinar with Anne Mette Kjær (Aarhus university). She will present the study “When ‘Pockets of effectiveness’ matter politically: Extractive industry regulation and taxation in Uganda and Tanzania”.

Abstract: It is a common view that states in the developing world with substantial extractive natural resource discoveries may not have the capacity to tax and regulate multinational companies in the sector. This study shows that ruling elites in recently resource-rich Tanzania, and in Uganda – expected to become resource-rich in the foreseeable future - have learned from the resource curse: they seek to construct ‘pockets of effectiveness’ (POEs) to regulate and tax natural resources. We explain the political incentives to create such pockets by combining insights from the POE and the Political Settlement literatures.

We argue that POEs are likely to be established in emerging resource-rich countries with three characteristics: some degree of competitive elections; widespread voter expectations of future natural resource prosperity; and absence of powerful domestic firms in the sector who can resist taxation. The political benefits of such POEs are higher revenues that can boost government spending power and, hence, political legitimacy. These outweigh the political costs of establishing POEs, namely rents and patronage foregone. This insight is missed in much of the writings on the impact of natural resource wealth in African countries.

Register for the webinarHERE.

The Tax for Development Webinar Series is jointly organized by CMI and the TaxCapDev-network and features ongoing research and initiatives to strengthen domestic revenue mobilization in developing countries, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa. You can sign up for the TaxCapDev monthly newsletter HERE, and read more about the webinar series HERE.

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