Date and time: Wednesday 17 January 2018, 12.30pm to 1.30pm

Venue: Seminar Room 7, JG Crawford Building 132, Lennox Crossing


David Doyle, Associate Professor of Politics, Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford.

Gerard McCarthy Doctoral Fellow, Department of Political and Social Change, Australian National University (ANU); Associate Director of ANU Myanmar Research Centre.


Taxation is central to the social contract between citizens and the state. Yet little research has explored the relationship in developing countries between individual attitudes towards the social contract and perceptions of tax fairness and efficacy.

This seminar draws on experimental research with informal sector workers in Mexico and a unique survey on taxation and social protection in Myanmar to help advance the debate. Focusing on individual perceptions, we show that in contexts of high informality and weak state capacity, reciprocity and individual preferences for redistribution shape tax morale. We point to the centrality of fairness, finding that tax morale is lower when individuals have stepped outside of the social contract and the welfare state through reliance on private insurance or informal reciprocity mechanisms. Furthermore, we present evidence that individuals are less willing to pay taxes when they doubt the redistributive capacity of the state or know the rich will ultimately benefit.

The seminar is organised by the Development Policy Centre. Further information is available here.

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