Journal Article
How does petty corruption affect tax morale in Sub-Saharan Africa?

This article is currently available for early online view. 

Revenues from taxation gain in importance to finance economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa. One obstacle to enhancing the willingness to remit taxes can be the extortion of bribes by public officials. Using micro-level data from the Afrobarometer, we show that petty corruption erodes tax morale.

The effect on tax morale is more severe in countries and regions where fewer people are affected by petty corruption and becomes insignificant if extortion of bribes is particularly prevalent. Differing levels of civic participation and potential access to tax funded services are also found to induce heterogeneous reactions to corruption experience. Applying a mediation analysis, we demonstrate that petty corruption not only has a direct effect on tax morale but also diminishes confidence in tax authorities and therefore affects tax morale indirectly.

The harmful effects of corruption experience, however, operate mainly through a generally lowered inclination to uphold high levels of tax morale.

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