- Taxation and the unequal reach of the state: mapping state capacity in Ecuador
- Governance: an international journal of policy, administration and institutions
- Volume | Issue number
- 28 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Even though the unequal reach of the state has become an important concern in the literature on developing democracies in Latin America, empirical measures of intracountry variation in state capacity are scarce. So far, attempts to develop valid measures of the reach of the state have often been hampered by inadequate data. Leveraging insights from national-level scholarship, this article proposes a tax-based measure to capture such intracountry variation. Drawing on a comprehensive data set of municipal finance and estimates of economic activity derived from nighttime lights, it maps state capacity in Ecuador. The article validates the measure on the basis of survey data collected by the Latin American Public Opinion Project. A multilevel analysis demonstrates that citizens tend to be more satisfied with the services provided by the state in municipalities with higher state capacity, which strengthens confidence that the measure picks up relevant differences.
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