Paving the way for fiscal capacity

Think WIDER Webinar Series - New perspectives on domestic revenue mobilization

Paving the way for fiscal capacity

Our Think WIDER Webinar Series - New perspectives on domestic revenue mobilization continues on 21 March 2023 at 15:00 (UTC+2) with a panel discussion about the building of fiscal states.

About the session

The process of transformation of public finance institutions, or the emergence of fiscal states, is a fundamental part of becoming an effective state. How can developing economies build fiscal states that are capable of collecting revenues from a broad tax base, as well as effectively spending public funds on a range of goods and services that will benefit households and firms?  

In this one-hour webinar, panellists from the academic and policy communities will share insights on what we know about the origins of fiscal states in developing economies, and their policy implications.  

The webinar aims to address the following questions:

  • Does history and politics matter in the development of fiscal states, and how? 

  • What are the lessons of the historical experiences of developed economies for building fiscal states in developing economies?  

  • How do social contracts between the state and citizen emerge wherein citizens voluntarily pay taxes to the state? 

  • What type of policy interventions are needed to increase the fiscal capacity of the state? 

The event is chaired by Kunal Sen, who leads the Fiscal states – the origins and developmental implications project, part of UNU-WIDER’s Domestic Revenue Mobilization (DRM) programme. Introduction to the topic will be given by Antonio Savoia (University of Manchester, UNU-WIDER). Panelists include Shanta Devaraj (Georgetown University, former Chief Economist of the Africa region in the World Bank), Sansia Blackmore (African Tax Institute) and Anne Mette Kjaer (Aarhus University). The event concludes with a Q&A session open to the audience.

About the speakers

Antonio Savoia is a Senior Lecturer in development economics at the University of Manchester's Global Development Institute and a UNU-WIDER Non-Resident Senior Research Fellow. His research has looked at the determinants of governance and institutional performance and how they impinge on development outcomes and policies. He has worked at the University of Exeter, the University of Reading, the Università di Salerno, and the University of Bath (where he received his PhD).

Sansia Blackmore is a Senior Lecturer at the African Tax Institute. Her work focuses on development and poverty, institutional economics, and a multidisciplinary understanding of state–society relationships. Previously, she was a lecturer and a researcher at University of Pretoria (UP) and served as the Managing Editor of the South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences.  

Shanta Devarajan is a professor of the practice of international development at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. He was previously at the World Bank, where he was the senior director for Development Economics, the chief economist of the Middle East and North Africa, Africa, and South Asia regions and the Human Development Network. He was also a director of the 2004 World Development Report,: Making Services Work for Poor People. 

Anne Mette Kjær is a professor at the Department of Political Science at Aarhus University. She has recently co-authored a WIDER Working Paper Fiscal states in sub-Saharan Africa: conceptualization and empirical trends