Global tax-comparison database launched to boost transparency

9 Sep 14
A new database comparing government revenues across the world has been launched in a bid to ‘break new ground’ around data consistency and transparency and improve international comparisons.

By Judith Ugwumadu | 9 September 2014

A new database comparing government revenues across the world has been launched in a bid to ‘break new ground’ around data consistency and transparency and improve international comparisons.

The International Centre for Tax and Development’s Government Revenue Dataset is the result of a three-year project and is expects will shed light on the relationships between aid and tax collection, natural resource revenue and democracy, and trade taxes and economic growth.

Internationally comparable data on government revenue has been weak, frustrating advances in both research and government policy, particularly in poorer countries, the research centre said.  

‘The ICTD government revenue dataset marks an important step towards ensuring the availability of high-quality government revenue data from around the world – with a key emphasis on the developing countries, building on the work of the International Monetary Fund,’ said ICTD chief executive Mick Moore.

‘We are hopeful that our improved dataset will be welcomed and taken forward by those working in this important area.’

Wilson Pritchard, ICTD research director, who led the team that created the project, added: ‘A major obstacle to cross-country research on the role of revenue and taxation in development has been the weakness of available data.

‘The ICTD Government Revenue Dataset offers a unique opportunity and greater accuracy (than existing datasets) allows for international comparability which was not possible up until this point.’

The researchers who developed the dataset are today discussing its implications with senior officials from the International Monetary Fund, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and World Bank in Washington DC.

They hope that international agencies, as well as the research community, will adopt the new dataset, which they said provides a clearer picture of tax trends over time within and across regions.

ICTD is focused on effective taxation for development and is based at the Institute of Development Studies in the UK. It is funded by the UK’s Department for International Development and the Norwegian government’s Agency for Development Cooperation.

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