Decentralization and the Politics of Local Taxation in Southeast Asia 公开

Tans, Ryan Gordon (2017)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/cv43nx632?locale=zh
Published

Abstract

Why do otherwise similar cities in Southeast Asia vary in their capacity to generate tax revenue? In this dissertation, I argue that local business associations drive increases in property taxation to enable cities to spend on infrastructure, but only if they can resolve two political problems that commonly bedevil taxation. Business associations must build a distributional consensus, and they must forestall local officials from diverting new revenues away from business-friendly projects. It takes strong and influential business associations to resolve these problems. This argument proceeds from an understanding of the political obstacles to taxation as collective action and commitment problems, rather than a mere lack of accountability for public officials. In making this argument, I challenge dominant political economy accounts that view tax policies as outcomes of either class conflict or patronage politics. Instead, I adopt an extended "fiscal contracts" approach which emphasizes the role of private sector associations as an institution that underpins an exchange of taxes for services between taxpayers and governments. My findings show that strong local business associations resolve distributional conflict and monitor public spending to varying degrees in four Indonesian and three Philippine cities, and draw on interviews, administrative documents and press reports as well as national statistical data. This dissertation explains why similar local governments enact different tax policies, and in doing so it poses a partial explanation for geographically uneven development. Furthermore, it delineates the conditions under which self-interested economic elites agree to fund public goods, thereby joining a rich tradition of work that casts public goods as a by-product of rent-seeking politics.

Table of Contents

Contents

List of figures

List of tables

List of abbreviations and glossary

1

The Institutional Underpinnings of Fiscal Contracts:

Theory and Cases

2

2

Beyond Mere Accountability:

Political Incentives in the Literature on Decentralization

29

3

Philippine Cases: Iloilo and Batangas

48

4

Indonesian Cases: Surabaya and Banjarmasin

85

5

Lessons, Limitations and Future Directions

128

Appendix of additional tables and figures

152

List of interviews

161

Bibliography

168

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