Fiscal States panel at APSA 2022 annual meeting

On 16 September 2022 UNU-WIDER will be organising a panel at the 2022 American Political Science Association’s (APSA) Annual Meeting & Exhibition on the topic of Fiscal States in Developing Countries: Origins and Developmental Implications.

The panel, chaired by UNU-WIDER's Director Kunal Sen, will bring together a theoretically and regionally diverse set of expertise to consider the effects of fiscal states in low- and middle-income countries and its economic, political and historical determinants. The panel presents four papers, mostly from the UNU-WIDER project Fiscal States in Developing Countries: Origins and Developmental Implications.

Panel discussants are Kunal Sen and Amy Basu from Yale University.

The theme of this year's ASPA convention is 'Rethink, Restructure, and Reconnect: Towards A Post-Pandemic Political Science'. The conference is held in Montréal, Québec, Canada, on 15-18 September 2022. 

Session Description

There has been a revival of interest on the role of states in economic development. Recent research argues that the most developed economies are those where effective states can exercise an important productive role, such as providing an effective administration of justice and resolving coordination failures. And according to this view, the emergence of fiscal states is a fundamental condition for effective statehood. This requires transitioning from a state relying on resources derived from the monarch’s domain to a state where its resources come from the power to tax. A central part of such transformation is developing the administrative capabilities to raise revenues, i.e., acquiring fiscal capacity.

Historically, this process was pivotal to the transformation of the nowadays-advanced European economies, leading to the development of states capable of collecting revenues from a broad tax base and capable of effectively spending public funds on a range of good and services benefitting households and firms. However, it is less clear why we have not seen the same trajectory in less advanced economies, where states are much less effective and often taxation yields only a fraction of the revenues compared to rich countries. The papers in this panel will combine country case studies, cross-country econometric analysis and comparative historical analysis to examine the effects of fiscal states in low- and middle-income countries and its economic, political and historical determinants.

More information about the panel can be found here.

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