How Does Neopatrimonialism Affect the African State? The Case of Tax Collection in Zambia

GIGA Working Paper No. 32

30 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2006 Last revised: 16 Aug 2012

See all articles by Christian von Soest

Christian von Soest

GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies

Date Written: November 1, 2006

Abstract

Following the neopatrimonialism paradigm, it can be hypothesised that in African states informal politics of the rulers infringe on the collection of taxes and in turn reduce state revenues. This article tests this proposition for the case of Zambia. The main finding is that there is no linear correlation between a neopatrimonial system and the collection of taxes. Neopatrimonial continuity in the country is evidenced by three factors; the concentration of political power, the award of personal favours and the misuse of state resources. Despite this continuity, the revenue performance has increased considerably with the creation of the semi-autonomous Zambia Revenue Authority. This demonstrates that the effect of neopatrimonialism on public policy in the African state is highly context-specific and dependent on the interaction with additional variables. Donor pressure has been the most important in the Zambian case. In order to apply neopatrimonialism for further empirical work on public policy in the African state, these additional variables have to be incorporated into the analysis.

Keywords: Neopatrimonialism, collection of revenue, tax systems, Zambia, African state, donors

JEL Classification: D31, D73, D79, E62, H10, H24, H25, H26, H41, K34

Suggested Citation

von Soest, Christian, How Does Neopatrimonialism Affect the African State? The Case of Tax Collection in Zambia (November 1, 2006). GIGA Working Paper No. 32, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=946092 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.946092

Christian Von Soest (Contact Author)

GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies ( email )

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