Political Settlements and Revenue Bargains in Africa


Start date: 1 August, 2016 End date: 31 March, 2023 Project type: Research projects in countries with extended development cooperation (earlier Window 1) Project code: 16-03-AU Countries: Tanzania Uganda Thematic areas: State building, governance and civil society, Lead institution: Aarhus University (AU), Denmark Partner institutions: Makerere University (MAK), Uganda Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), Denmark Research on Poverty Alleviation (REPOA), Tanzania Project website: go to website (the site might be inactive) Project coordinator: Anne Mette Kjær Total grant: 7,284,756 DKK

Project summary

Over the last decade, a number of countries in Africa have become less dependent on traditional aid as other sources of income have grown. At the same time, the policy priorities of these countries’ governments may be changing. Whereas poverty reduction and social service provision were highly prioritized around the turn of the millennium, focus is shifting towards infrastructure and industrial policy. Declining aid dependence and more country ownership over policy are clearly desirable. However, we know little about how the changes in the composition of revenue providers affect bargaining over revenue and ultimately, public policy. Revenue bargaining processes are inherently political. They are affected by the countries’ political settlements and electoral pressures. This proposed research builds research capacity through exploring how formal and informal revenue bargains affect public policies. As a joint team of legal experts, political scientists, sociologists and economists, we provide policy-relevant understanding of the political economy of tax and revenue bargaining in least developed countries, and Uganda and Tanzania specifically. Our main hypothesis is that changes in the relative power of revenue providers will lead to a change in the policy priorities of national governments. We explore this by combining a macro-historical comparative study of Uganda and Tanzania over time with a micro-level study of the politics of specific instances of revenue bargaining.


Extra midterm report:
The PSRB research programme has been able to research and study a series of revenue bagains in Uganda and Tanzania. The PSRB programme has produced two finished PhDs and another two are in the final stages of being assessed. The researchers have produced working papers and policy briefs on these revenue bargains, as well as (at midterm) two published peer reviewed articles, two articles, and an edited volume under review. The 3 PSRB partnering institutions have had their networks and capacity for tax related research strengthened. In addition, the PSRB programme has been successful in working as trigger for new research programmes and projects. Hence, the PSRB programme has created spinoffs in that two new phd scholars have been recruited for tax and revenue related research projects under AMKs supervision. Two PSRB researchers have achieved positions at the University of Southern Denmark where they are now involved in researching the financing of welfare states in the global south. Three PSRB researchers were invited to take part in a thematically related UNU-WIDER special issue on Fiscal States.


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