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How does neopatrimonialism affect the African state? The case of tax collection in Zambia

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Soest, Christian von

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Abstract Following the neopatrimonialism paradigm, it can be hypothesised that in African states informal politics of the rulers infringe on the collection of taxes and in turn reduce state revenue. This article tests this proposition for the case of Zambia. Neopatrimonial continuity in the country is evidenced by three factors : the concentration of political power, the award of personal favours, and the misuse of state resources. Despite this continuity, the revenue performance increased considerably with the creation of the semi-autonomous Zambia Revenue Authority. Donor pressure has been the most important intervening variable accounting for this improvement. Yet, strengthening the collection of central state revenue has been consistent with a neopatrimonial rationale, and may even have fed neopatrimonialism overall, by providing increased resources for particularistic expenditure.
Keywords Zambia; Africa; national state; revenue; taxes; tax policy; tax system; public budget; patrimonialism; fiscal authorities; corruption; political power; international aid; development aid policy; political economy; Southern Africa; developing country
Classification Public Finance; Political System, Constitution, Government
Free Keywords gebundene Auslandshilfe
Document language English
Publication Year 2007
Page/Pages p. 621-645
Journal The Journal of Modern African Studies, 45 (2007) 4
ISSN 1469-7777
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.