Remittance dependence, support for taxation and quality of public services in Africa

Maty Konte & Gideon Ndubuisi


We explore the heterogeneous effect of migrant remittances on citizens' support for taxation using a sample comprising 45,000 individuals from the Afrobarometer survey round 7 [2016-2018] across 34 African countries. To correct for unobserved heterogeneity, we endogenously identify latent classes/subtypes of individuals that share similar patterns on how their support for taxation is affected by their unobserved and observed characteristics, including remittances dependency. We apply the finite multilevel mixture of regressions approach, a supervised machine learning method to detect hidden classes in the data without a priori assumptions on class/subtype membership or how remittance dependency affects support for taxation across the classes. Our data is best generated by an econometric model with two classes/subtypes of individuals. In class 1 where more than two-thirds of the citizens in our sample belong, we do not find any significant evidence that remittance dependence affects support for taxation. However, in class 2 where the remaining one-third of the citizens belong, we find a significant negative effect of remittance dependence on support for taxation. We further examine whether citizens' valuation of the quality of public services is an important factor in determining the classification of individuals into classes. We find that citizens who have a positive appraisal of the quality of the public service delivery have a lower probability of belonging to the class/subtype in which depending on remittances reduces support for taxation.

Keywords: Remittances, Tax Morale, Public services, Africa

JEL Classification: D01, H41, O55

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