Building the Modern State in Developing Countries:Understanding the Relationship between Security and Taxes with Evidence from Mexico
Gustavo Flores-Macías (Cornell University)
This seminar provides novel micro-level evidence of the relationship between two central aspects of state capacity, taxation and the provision of law and order. Drawing on an original nationally-representative survey conducted in the context of Mexico’s war on drugs, we estimate through a novel technique the size of the fiscal sacrifice citizens are willing to make to improve public safety, and investigate the determinants of attitudes towards heavier taxation for this end. Contrary to expectations from the literatures on victimization and state intervention as risk mitigation, we find that willingness to pay taxes to reduce crime is driven by perceptions of nationwide public safety: those with more intense feelings of insecurity are less inclined to pay.
Gustavo A. Flores-Macías is Associate Professor in the Department of Government at Cornell University. He received his PhD in political science from Georgetown University and a master’s in public policy from Duke University, where he was a Fulbright scholar. Before joining the Government Department he was a fellow at Cornell’s Polson Institute for Global Development between 2008 and 2010. Previously, he served as Director of Public Affairs in Mexico’s Consumer Protection Agency. His research and teaching interests include a variety of topics related to political and economic development. Currently, his research focuses on two main areas: 1) the politics of economic reform, and 2) taxation and state capacity..
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