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Local government taxation and accountability in Mexico

Pöschl, Caroline (2015) Local government taxation and accountability in Mexico. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.t73913kmqqzm


The taxation-accountability theory broadly states that if governments are dependent on taxation, they will become less corrupt and more accountable to citizens. The need to raise tax revenue is said to spark incentives that lead to mutually beneficial bargaining between government and citizens. Citizens agree to make tax payments in return for more accountable governance and increased influence in government decision-making. Several scholars have shown empirical evidence in support of this taxationaccountability theory at the national level, yet few have studied it at the local government level. This paper explores this theory in the context of Mexican municipal governments using a mixed methods research approach. It first surveys the relationship between taxation and accountability using econometric analysis and then employs a comparative case study of six urban municipalities that are under considerable pressure to raise their tax revenue. The latter is based on several months of field research conducted in the states of Guerrero, Tabasco, Baja California Sur, Aguascalientes, Yucatán and Coahuila. It reveals the processes that evolve from revenue pressure, whether they lead to tax bargaining, and the extent to which greater accountability can be expected as a result. The findings provide some evidence of tax bargaining and positive correlations between the importance of taxation in a government’s budget and accountability. However, the causal link to greater accountability is not straightforward and is greatly hindered by the institutional framework surrounding local government. While implicit agreements between government and citizens showed that equilibrium between taxation and accountability was consistently maintained, restrictions on local power and other institutional factors stood in the way of increased local taxation sparking greater local accountability. These factors may be remedied by reform.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2015 Caroline Pöschl
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JL Political institutions (America except United States)
Sets: Departments > International Development
Supervisor: Haacke, Jürgen

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