Why Do Tax Research And Evidence Matter For Economic Growth?

Hosted by the International Growth Centre (IGC)

Online public event

The event features a high-level keynote address from FCDO Chief Economist Adnan Khan, followed by a high-level panel discussion on why tax research and evidence matter for economic growth in developing countries. This will be followed by the presentation of four papers that have shaped tax policy in developing countries in the past 15 years.

The centrality of taxation in the growth paradigm has motivated the IGC to create the Tax for Growth Initiative. To launch the initiative the IGC is hosting a half-day event focusing on the role of tax research and evidence in promoting economic growth in developing countries. Over the last 15 years, there has been an explosion in research collaboration between Revenue Authorities and Academic Researchers. This has led to the production of exciting new evidence and innovative solutions to improve tax collection. There has also been a data revolution with revenue authorities digitising tax systems as well as better integration across different systems.

Meet our speakers

James Dzansi (@jdzansi) is a Country Economist at IGC Ghana. He works with researchers and policymakers to promote evidence-based policy. Before joining the IGC, James worked for the UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change where he led several analyses to inform UK energy policy. Previously, he served as a Lecturer at the Jonkoping international Business School. His research interests are in development economics, corporate governance, energy economics and energy policy. James holds a PhD, MSc and BA in Economics, and LLM in Petroleum Taxation and Finance.

Anders Jensen is a Research Programme Director for IGC's State research programme. He is an Associate Professor in the Kennedy School at Harvard University and received his PhD in Economics from the London School of Economics in 2016. His primary research interests are in Public Finance and Development. He is a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and an International Research Associate at the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Adnan Khan (@adnanqk) is an Academic Lead for the IGC's State Fragility initiative. Professor Khna is a Professor im Practice at the LSE's STICERD and new School for Public Policy. Prior to this, he was the Research and Policy Director at the IGC since 2009. During 2018-19, he was a Visiting Lecturer of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Before going into academia, Khan spent more than 15 years as a practitioner and policymaker in Pakistan. His public service included positions in the Pakistan National School of Public Policy, Education and Finance Ministries, and district administration. He has set up large-scale field experiments in collaboration with governments on taxation, public procurement, social protection, and entrepreneurship. His areas of interest include economic development and state capacity, political economy and state fragility, and public finance. Khan co-chaired the LSE-Oxford Commission on State Fragility, Growth and Development from 2017 to 2018.

Jonathan Leape is  the Executive Director of the IGC. He is also an Associate Professor of Economics at the LSE. He was the founding director of the Centre for Research into Economics and Finance in Southern Africa, which was established at LSE in 1990 as an initiative of the Commonwealth Heads of Government to support the democratic transition in South Africa. He has advised a number of African governments, with a focus on tax and regulatory issues, and he served as Chief Academic Advisor on Taxation to the UK Government Economic Service. He was also director of the highly innovative “LSE100 The LSE Course: Understanding the Causes of Things” from 2009-13. His research interests centre on public economics, with a particular focus on taxation and regulation, including congestion charging. He has a PhD in Economics from Harvard University, where he was a National Science Foundation Fellow, and degrees from Oxford University and Harvard University.

Joana Naritomi (@joana_naritomi) is an Assistant Professor at LSE's International Development Department. She is a Research Affiliate in the CEPR Public Economics programme, an Institute for Fiscal Studies Research Associate, an IGC Research Affiliate, a CESifo Public Sector Economics Affiliate, and a Lemann Fellow. She has a PhD from Harvard University and her main research interests are Public Economics and Development Economics.

Dina Pomeranz (@DinaPomeranz) is an Assistant Professor at the University of Zurich. She was formerly assistant professor at Harvard Business School in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit, specialising in public policies towards firms and entrepreneurs in emerging markets. Her research has been published in journals such as the American Economic Review and the Tax Administration Review and has been featured in media outlets including CNN, Bloomberg News and The Wall Street Journal.

Twivwe Siwale is the Head of Tax for Growth, a thematic initiative of the International Growth Centre. She is responsible for project development, content creation and policy engagement for IGC’s work on tax. The portfolio includes a collaboration with the Tanzania Revenue Authority to develop a dashboard to increase the utilization of tax data generated from Electronic Fiscal Devices to increase domestic revenue mobilization. Other work is with the Zambia Revenue Authority to pilot a consumer incentive scheme to increase VAT compliance.  Prior to joining the IGC, Twivwe worked at the Zambia Revenue Authority in various departments including the tax inspectorate, audit and policy and legislation unit.   She is a Commonwealth Scholar who holds an MSc in Public Economics from the University of York. She is also a 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow and studied Public Management at the Andrew Young School of Public Policy in Atlanta, Georgia. She has provided expert economic analysis on Zambia to various media houses including the BBC and the Telegraph.

Gabriel Tourek (@gabezt) is a Post-Doctoral Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and J-PAL working with the Digital Identification and Finance Initiative. His research focusses on political economy and public economics, and market and behavioural frictions that constrain firms' decision-making and growth.

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