Taxation with Dictators and Democrats: Regime Effects on Provincial Revenue in Argentina

Posted: 22 Feb 2011

See all articles by Melissa Rogers

Melissa Rogers

Claremont Colleges - School of Politics and Economics


Democracies and autocracies differ greatly in the way that they interact with citizens. Theories of comparative politics postulate strong, and conflicting, hypotheses about the likely success of democracies and autocracies in collecting revenue. Democracies, many argue, should be able to collect more revenue because they induce more voluntary compliance. Dictatorships are said to be better at enforcing their laws and efficiently administrating their bureaucracies. Very little empirical research exists to verify theories of the superiority of taxation in either regime type. In this paper, I examine the differences across regimes in taxation at both national and provincial-level taxes from 1959-2001. I looked at whether the total amount and type of taxation differed and found that the regimes emphasized certain taxes over others. In particular, authoritarian regimes taxed the more visible activities such as automobile usage and "stamp" fees for government contracts. Democracies had more success in taxing businesses and real estate. These findings have implications for the study of regime types, taxation, and federalism. They confirmed the qualitative difference in interactions between citizens and the state across regime types. Moreover, autocracies do not necessarily seek to eliminate or weaken sub-national governments. Rather, in Argentina, they bolstered provincial taxation in many cases; a change that has led to their strength in the democratic era.

Suggested Citation

Rogers, Melissa, Taxation with Dictators and Democrats: Regime Effects on Provincial Revenue in Argentina. Western Political Science Association 2011 Annual Meeting Paper , Available at SSRN:

Melissa Rogers (Contact Author)

Claremont Colleges - School of Politics and Economics ( email )

Claremont, CA 91711
United States

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