The Elasticity of tax compliance: Evidence from randomized tax rates

with Bergeron A, Tourek G. PAP.

This paper estimates the elasticity of property tax compliance in a field experiment in Kananga, Democratic Republic of Congo, a setting where the status quo level of compliance is low. In collaboration with the provincial government, we randomly assign four tax rates on the household level as part of a door-to-door city-wide tax collection campaign covering 45,000 properties…

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Local versus central taxation: Evidence from property tax collection in the DRC

with Balan P, Bergeron A, Tourek G. RCT Registration.

We randomly assign the city’s neighborhoods to central tax collection, conducted by agents of the provincial tax ministry, or local tax collection, conducted by local city chiefs. We also implement two hybrid collection interventions and cross-randomized information treatments to elicit the mechanisms through which central and local tax collection shape citizen compliance…

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Land and legibility: Evidence from an urban land titling RCT in Congo

with Balan P, Bergeron A, Tourek G. RCT Registration.

We study a randomized land-titling campaign in Kananga, D.R. Congo, that offers randomly selected participants lower prices and lower transaction costs of acquiring a formal property title. The study also randomly varies the price of subsidized titles, allowing for the estimation of the elasticity of demand of formal titles with respect to price…

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The Genetic Legacy of State Centralization in the Kuba Kingdom of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

L. van Dorp, S. Lowes, N. Ansari-Pour, S. López, J. Mendoza-Revilla, J.A. Robinson, J. Henrich, M.G. Thomas, N. Nunn, and G. Hellenthal. 2019. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 116(2):593-598. PDF. BBC Inside Science.

Few phenomena have had as profound or long-lasting consequences in human history as the emergence of large-scale centralized states in the place of smaller-scale and more-local societies. This study examines a fundamental, and yet, unexplored consequence of state formation: its genetic legacy. We study the genetic impact of state centralization during the formation of the eminent pre-colonial Kuba Kingdom…

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The Taxman Cometh: A Virtuous Cycle of Compliance and State Legitimacy in the D.R. Congo

Jonathan L. Weigel, 2018. Working Paper.

How do states in a low-tax, low-capacity equilibrium spur citizens to start paying taxes? Public-finance models hinge on citizen perceptions of enforcement, while political scientists emphasize the legitimacy of the state in generating voluntary compliance. This paper examines the determinants of payment in the first-ever citizen property tax campaign in a large Congolese city that raised average compliance from 0% to 10%…

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