Financial Development and Tax Revenue: How Catalytic Are Political Development and Corruption?

  •  John Bosco Nnyanzi    
  •  John Bbale    
  •  Richard Sendi    


Increasing domestic revenue mobilization remains a challenge for many governments, particularly in low-income countries. Using a sample of East African countries, the study sets off to investigate the impact of financial development from a multi-dimensional perspective on tax revenues for the period 1990 to 2014, and how political development and the control of corruption would enhance the observed nexus. The dynamic panel results from the system GMM estimation approach indicate a significant role of financial development overall and the financial institutions and financial markets in particular. A disaggregation of the duo suggests that it is the depth of financial institutions that greatly matters for tax revenue, with a one per cent change expected to yield about 0.26 per cent change in tax collections. It is then followed by their level of accessibility, financial market depth and efficiency. We fail to find significant evidence in support of financial market access and financial institutions efficiency although the possibility for the latter seems indismissible. Further evidence points to the catalytic nature of a good institutional and political environment in pursuit of higher tax-GDP ratio via financial development. Policies to promote the depth and accessibility of financial institutions as well the depth and efficiency of financial markets in East Africa alongside well-focused anti-corruption programs and democratic governance are likely to yield better fiscal outcomes in terms of domestic tax revenues critically needed to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We also confirm the positive role played by the lagged tax revenue, per capita GDP, trade openness, debt-to-GDP ratio and population density in the tax effort.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.