A Taxing Journey: How Civic Actors Influence Tax Policy

Our researcher Paolo de Renzio has a new book out by Bloomsbury Press that is a definite read for anyone interested in advancing winning tax equity campaigns. This open access book examines how civic organizations can influence tax policy and administration in ways that benefit ordinary citizens, through in-depth case studies from a wide range of countries including France, Guatemala, Kenya, Mexico, Philippines, Uganda, and the United States. These cases demonstrate the ways in which civic coalitions have crafted convincing narratives and used creative strategies to change the political incentives of policymakers and yield more equitable tax reform. The cases cover a wide range of types of tax reform, from taxes on specific items like fuel, tobacco and mobile money applications, to personal and corporate income taxes. They also highlight the use of a variety of approaches by civic actors—such as media campaigns, advocacy with legislators, and strategic litigation—to influence policy. These examples, covering a range of lower and higher income countries, across many aspects of tax systems, give us useful examples to build on, demonstrating that citizens everywhere can influence tax policy and ultimately secure fairer societies. We are grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for generously supporting this project. The book can be downloaded free of charge here.

The ebook editions of this book are available open access under a CC BY 4.0 licence on

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Paolo de Renzio

Senior Research Fellow, International Budget Partnership

Paolo de Renzio joined the International Budget Partnership in October 2010 as Senior Research Fellow and is based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His research agenda covers a broad range of topics, including budget transparency and accountability, equity and justice in budgeting, taxation and tax expenditures, among others. He also supports the team producing the Open Budget Survey. Prior to joining the IBP, Paolo worked as a Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute; as an economist and policy advisor in Papua New Guinea’s Ministry of Finance; and as a UNDP public sector specialist, lecturer, and independent consultant in Mozambique. He has been a consultant for the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the European Commission, and for a number of bilateral donor agencies and international NGOs. Paolo holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Oxford, where his research focused on the impact of donor policies on budget reforms in developing countries. He also holds an MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from ‘Bocconi’ in Milan, Italy.