Mayoral Public Sector Work Experience and Tax Collection Performance in Colombian Local Governments
48 Pages Posted: 16 May 2013 Last revised: 13 Aug 2014
Date Written: October 26, 2013
Local governments in Latin America tend to have limited capacity to collect taxes. Existing theory explains tax collection performance as a function of political, socio-economic, and cultural factors. Yet across Latin America, tax collection performance varies greatly between localities that are similar along these dimensions. We suggest that organizational capacity, represented by managers’ human capital, explains variation in local tax collection performance. We test this theoretical idea against panel data on most Colombian local governments, where elected mayors are the top managers determining the local tax collection strategy. We examine two indicators of tax collection performance: (i) the per-capita amount of property tax collected; and (ii) property tax collected as a percentage of total property valuation. Controlling for important confounders, the length of the mayor’s prior public sector work experience is positively associated with the per-capita amount of property tax collected but not the percentage of total property valuation collected in property tax. Our results suggest that Colombian mayors gain relevant skills over their career. Our study has implications for other developing countries with a similar property tax collection system.
Keywords: property tax collection, public management, Colombia
JEL Classification: H71, H79
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation