To contract or not to contract: Thinking through narratives of tax and spend

Author: Jason Lakin

One narrative about tax policy has dominated recent thinking among development partners, academics, and advocates: tax as part of a “social contract” between citizens and the state. This paper argues that the social contract approach is too tidy and that ultimately, narrative pluralism, which allows advocates to draw on alternatives, such as “services first” or “fairness first” approaches, is preferable to an overreliance on the social contract narrative alone.

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