Pre-Election Tax Enforcement in Sub-Saharan Africa
Using the literature on the political business cycle as a point of departure, this paper investigates whether incumbent politicians manipulate the enforcement of tax collection prior to elections, in order to win votes. Whereas previous literature has focused on macro level measurement, this paper turns the attention to the micro level, and introduces a novel measurement for the enforcement of tax regulations on an individual level. The paper investigates this question using 70 country-rounds of survey data from Sub-Saharan Africa combined with data on the timing of elections. There is no clear-cut evidence for such policy manipulations on an aggregate level, but findings indicate that this might differ depending on the incumbent’s level of political support. These findings are relevant to everyone working on how to strengthen tax administrations in developing countries in order to increase public revenue and improve quality of government.