The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Vitor Gaspar, Laura Jaramillo, and Philippe Wingender
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
An empirical finding by Gaspar, Jaramillo and Wingender (2016) shows that once countries cross a tax-to-GDP threshold of around 12¾ percent, real GDP per capita increases sharply and in a sustained manner over the following decade. In this paper, we attempt via four case studies-Spain, China, Colombia, and Nigeria-to illustrate that the improvements in tax capacity have been part of a deeper process of state capacity building. We discuss the political conditions that supported tax capacity building, highlighting three important political ingredients: constitutive institutions, inclusive politics and credible leadership.