State capacity in dictatorships Investigating variation in income taxation amongst autocracies

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: This thesis investigates whether different types of dictatorships construct their state apparatuses in different ways, resulting in higher or lower levels of state capacity. Arguing that income taxes is the hardest form of taxes to collect – and thus is a good indicator of the state’s overall fiscal capacity – the thesis hypothesize that party-based autocracies should display higher levels of fiscal capacity compared to other types of dictatorships, for three reasons: Firstly, party-based regimes tend to have longer time-horizons than most other types of autocracies. Secondly, they often have greater incentives than others to invest in the fiscal capacity of the state. Thirdly, due to the highly institutionalized nature of party-based regimes, they avoid the fear, incompetence and bad information that plagues many other dictatorships. Using time-series analysis with panel data covering 80 countries for the period 1980-2010, the thesis finds strong – but not complete – support for the hypothesis.

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