chapter  2
29 Pages

Assessing Tax Performance in Developing Countries: a Critical Review of the Literature.

From the point of view of an international agency, the problem of assessing the performance of a developing country is analogous to the problem of 'success indicators' in centrallyplanned economies. Like the central planner, the international aid official cannot simply be content with such qualitative appraisals as 'country X is doing all right' or 'country Y seems to be slacking'. He wants some quantifiable and comparable indicator of performance, preferably a simple one, so that he can tell which of his 'clients' are doing well and which are notor, in somewhat stronger terms, which among the many poor countries with which he is concerned are the 'deserving poor', in that they are trying hard, and which are the 'undeserving poor', who are not really doing as much for themselves as they can or should. He may therefore turn to the economist for such an indicator-and also, perhaps, for a clearer formulation of the standard of performance which should be expected of various countries. The performance of a country, its 'effort', may then, of course, be defined in terms of how closely the indicator approaches the standard.