On Government Revenues, Accountability, and NGOs: Experimental Evidence from Ghana and Uganda on Taxes, Oil, and Aid

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Do citizens more readily demand  accountability from governments for taxes than for non-tax revenue from oil or aid? Identical experiments on large, representative samples of Ghanaians and Ugandans probe the effects of different revenue types on citizens' actions to monitor government spending. A similar experiment on MPs from the two countries examined their beliefs about these revenue sources. Roughly half of all citizens willingly take action to scrutinize all three sources. Neither Ghanaians nor Ugandans are more likely to take action for tax revenues than oil or aid when the money goes to the government. MPs  likewise saw no difference. Citizens do differentiate  between revenue delivered to the government compared to money given to NGOs. Findings are robust to numerous alternatives  and subgroups. Little evidence exists that taxes strengthen citizens' demands for accountability or that MPs perceive differences across revenue sources. However, aid channeled through NGOs motivates more accountability.


Available at: World Bank Policy Research Working Papers. No. WPS8137. The World Bank. July 2017.

Last updated on 12/03/2018