Property Taxes and State Incapacity in Pakistan

Muhammad Mujtaba Piracha

Winner of the 2022 Bloomsbury Pakistan Book Prize

This book helps deepen our understanding of state-citizen engagement in Pakistan’s particularly difficult context, especially around its struggles with establishing stable local governments—a level of government that is essential to many of its citizens’ most demanded services—and establishing a progressive tax regime. It ably brings together these two essential facets of governance, and in the great tradition of ethnographies of the state, takes us deep into a barely understood but absolutely central part of the state apparatus in Pakistan.

Governance Cluster Leader and Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies,
University of Sussex, UK

This book examines the reasons for low local taxes in Pakistan, but it is unbelievably multifaceted. It provides a rich description of the institutional architecture of Pakistan’s federal fiscal system, analyses the perverse incentives it creates for local tax effort, presents rich primary evidence on the incentives created by the formal and informal arrangements that govern property taxation, and addresses issues of public policy. The contribution is a richly illustrated study of how the real tax system works, the values and work styles of the property tax collectors and the role political economy, informality and constant negotiation between collectors and property holders play in creating an equilibrium that ensures low collection. The book is a must read for reformers and academics.

Associate Professor of Economics, LUMS

Author Description

Dr Muhammad Mujtaba Piracha is Pakistan’s Ambassador to the World Trade Organisation in Geneva since 2019, where he is currently the Chair of the Committee on Trade and Development. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science and undertook his doctoral studies at the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex. Dr Piracha has worked across Pakistan in both the government and non-government sectors. Some of his previous assignments include Additional Chief Secretary (Services), Commissioner Lahore, Secretary Industries, Commerce, Investment and Skills Development in Punjab; Program Economist at the Aga Khan Rural Support Program; and multiple field assignments in Balochistan.

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PKR 915
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More Information
ISBN 9780190702557
Weight in kg 0.270
Rights World
Year of Publication 2021
Binding Paperback
Pages 246