MAYORAL PUBLIC SECTOR WORK EXPERIENCE AND TAX COLLECTION PERFORMANCE IN COLOMBIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENTS

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

4 Scopus Citations
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Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-173
Journal / PublicationInternational Public Management Journal
Volume17
Issue number2
Online published28 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Abstract

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: (1) the per-capita amount of property tax collected and (2) 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. © 2014 Copyright N. Petrovsky and C. N. Avellaneda.