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TAX ME IF YOU CAN ETHNIC GEOGRAPHY DEMOCRACY AND THE TAXATION OF AGRICULTURE IN AFRICA Kimuli Kasara Department of Political Science Stanford University kkasara stanford edu November 25 2005 Draft Please do not cite or circulate Abstract It is typically assumed that African leaders enact policies that benefit their ethno regional group using all types of patronage Crop production and political power are geographically concentrated in many African countries and this paper exploits this overlap to cast doubt on this conventional wisdom It shows using data on 50 country crop combinations that cash crop farmer residing in the ruling coalition s home territory face higher taxes and additionally that democratic regimes impose lower taxes This paper shows that farmers who have few alternatives face higher taxes African leaders have used local intermediaries to exert control over the countryside and to ensure that farmers do not support alternative candidates It suggest that as leaders are better at selecting and monitoring these intermediaries in their home areas they can extract more from the majority at home than abroad using taxes on cash crops which are regionally but not individually targetable I am grateful to Sarah Anderson Alberto Diaz Cayeros James Fearon Nahomi Ichino Tonja Jacobi Saumitra Jha David Laitin Peter Lorentzen Beatriz Magaloni Nikolay Marinov Vidal Romero Mike Tomz Jeremy Wallace and seminar participants at the March 2004 meeting of the Working Group on African Political Economy WGAPE and at the Comparative Politics Workshops at Stanford University and Duke University for helpful comments on earlier versions Any mistakes are my own A widespread belief about politics in Africa is that people benefit from patronage when co ethnics hold political power African politicians seem to confirm this intuition when they stress their credentials as a native son of a place Voters confirm it because they prefer to have a presidential candidate from their home area



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