Legitimating beliefs: Sources and indicators
Article first published online: 28 DEC 2009
© 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd
Regulation & Governance
Volume 3, Issue 4, pages 311–333, December 2009
How to Cite
Levi, M. and Sacks, A. (2009), Legitimating beliefs: Sources and indicators. Regulation & Governance, 3: 311–333. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-5991.2009.01066.x
- Issue published online: 28 DEC 2009
- Article first published online: 28 DEC 2009
- Accepted for publication 15 October 2009.
- government effectiveness;
- procedural justice;
- quasi-voluntary compliance;
- tax compliance
The more a government is effective and fair, the more legitimacy that government is likely to attain, and the more it will possess the potential to elicit compliance without excessive monitoring or punitive action. We explore this proposition using contemporary survey data from sub-Saharan Africa. In particular, we are interested in the conditions that promote popular legitimating beliefs that provide support for governments that are attempting to serve their entire populations competently and in a manner that is relatively impartial and equitable. This article provides empirical support for a long hypothesized link between the extent of government effectiveness, procedural justice, and citizens' willingness to defer to governmental tax authority. The sample, drawn from a continuum of developing societies in Africa, allows us to analyze the impact of variations in government effectiveness and citizen perceptions of fairness on the sense of obligation to comply with the tax authorities, our indicator for legitimating beliefs.