in: Journal of International Development 28 (4), 485–506
A growing body of literature suggests that political regime type matters in determining taxation. However, research on the relationship of political regimes to taxation yields mixed results. To what extent does the democratic or authoritarian character of the polity impact on the level of taxation? The paper investigates the relationship between political regimes and tax-to-gross domestic product ratio, using a panel dataset of 131 countries and covering the period 1990–2008. Findings suggest that the character of the polity affects taxation, but there is no linear trend in favour of democracy. Rather, the results indicate a U-shaped relationship between polity and tax ratio.