By Ronald H. Chilcote
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Introduction 29 variety of possible user charges and taxes, and without effective regulation by the centre – are fertile environments for coercive taxation when local governments are given the responsibility to raise revenues. This describes both rural China and the cases of Tanzania and Uganda (Chapter 5). Bernstein and Lu¨ (in Chapter 4) document the political consequences of the dismantling of the central planning system in China, which left local governments in rural China seriously short of revenue, but burdened by new responsibilities for rural education and other social services.
2 Revenues-for-services Quasi-consensual taxation, as Levi (1988) emphasised, involves reciprocity: citizens understand that they need to pay for services, whether these involve security and protection from invading forces, or other public goods and services. How states spend their tax money can affect their legitimacy and their ‘right’ to demand revenues from taxpayers. This is an important theme in the literature on tax compliance and tax morale surveyed earlier in this chapter. However, as Kjær (2004) has noted, there is considerable controversy over the extent to which the payment of taxes in developing countries can be seen as a quid pro quo for better services.
On the other hand, Fjeldstad (2004) argued in a study of local government, that payment was related to services: South Africans were more likely to pay local service charges if they felt that the government was providing services equitably, collecting revenue fairly and actually using the revenue to provide services. And a study of tax compliance in Botswana and South Africa reported that taxpayers in Botswana rated government fairness and efficiency considerably higher than did taxpayers in South Africa, and their self-reported tax compliance was also higher (Cummings et al.