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People power? Lessons from civic campaigns for tax reform and their role in creating fairer societies

Time (GMT +00) 17:00 18:30
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Countries around the world are facing a poly-crisis of rising inequality and poverty, slower growth, effects of the climate crisis and significant pressures on public finances.

With increased demand for public services and higher debt servicing costs, more importance is being placed on domestic revenue mobilisation to plug financing gaps. More progressive systems can ensure that everyone pays their fair share and fiscal policy can have an important impact on inequality through income redistribution. Yet, falling top rates of income tax and corporate tax rates around the world suggest tax systems are at risk of placing a greater burden on those less able to pay.

Decision-making in tax systems is influenced by a range of actors, and effective tax policymaking processes involve constructive engagement between the executive, legislature, business, and civic actors. Governments are not always incentivised to benefit the interests of ordinary citizens. The influence of civil society can be limited by low capacity, a lack of transparency or overpowered by actors able to mobilise more effectively to benefit their own interests.

This event explores lessons from recent case studies where civic activism has successfully influenced tax reform. It draws on a new book 'A Taxing Journey: How Civic Actors Influence Tax Policy' edited by Paolo de Renzio with contributors from academics, practitioners and civil society organisations covering seven countries: France, Guatemala, Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines, Uganda, and the United States. The discussion considers a variety of influencing approaches and how civic actors, governments and donors can work more effectively together to achieve fairer societies.


  • paolo_de_renzio

    Paolo de Renzio

    Senior Lecturer, Brazilian School of Public and Business Administration at Fundação Getúlio Vargas

  • Photo-Sergio-Chaparro

    Sergio Chaparro-Hernandez

    Tax Justice Network

  • hazel-granger-sept-2019-1000x667.2e16d0ba.fill-142x142.png

    Hazel Granger (Chair)

    Senior Research Fellow, ODI

  • Edward Arbrokwah

    Edward Abrokwah

    Principal Economist, Ghana Ministry of Finance

  • Maryam H'madoun

    Maryam H’madoun

    Senior Program Officer, Open Society Foundations