Some natural resources-oil and minerals in particular-exert a negative and nonlinear impact on growth via their deleterious impact on institutional quality. We show this result to be very robust. The Nigerian experience provides telling confirmation of this aspect of natural resources. Waste and poor institutional quality stemming from oil appear to have been primarily responsible for Nigeria's poor long-run economic performance. We propose a solution for addressing this resource curse which involves directly distributing the oil revenues to the public. Even with all the difficulties that will no doubt plague its actual implementation, our proposal will, at the least, be vastly superior to the status quo. At best, however, it could fundamentally improve the quality of public institutions and, as a result, durably raise long-run growth performance.
An analysis of data for 39 sub-Saharan African countries during 1985–96 indicates that the variations in tax revenue-GDP ratios within this group are influenced by economic policies and the level of corruption. Namely, these ratios rise with declining inflation, implementation of structural reforms, rising human capital (a proxy for the provision of public services by the government), and declining corruption. The paper confirms that the tax revenue ratio rises with income, and that elements of a country’s tax base (such as the share of agriculture in GDP and the degree of openness) influence tax revenue.
Ms. Janet Gale Stotsky and Ms. Asegedech WoldeMariam
Many sub-Saharan African countries face difficulty in raising tax revenue for public purposes. This study uses panel data on 43 sub-Saharan African countries during 1990-95 to measure the determinants of the tax share in GDP and to construct a measure of tax effort. The analysis suggests that the countries with a relatively high tax share tend to have a relatively high index of tax effort, although these results are not uniform across the countries. The results can be used to provide guidance on to the proper mix of fiscal policy in the event of budgetary imbalance.