Tax Audits Under Weak Fiscal Capacity: Experimental Evidence from Senegal", joint work with Pierre Bachas, Alipio Ferreira, and Bassirou Sarr.

Developing economies are characterized by limited compliance with government regulations, such as taxation. Resources for enforcement are scarce and audit cases are often selected in a discretionary manner. We study whether the increasing availability of digitized data helps improve audit targeting. In a field experiment at scale in Senegal, we compare tax audits selected by inspectors to audits selected by a risk-scoring algorithm. We find that inspector-selected audits are more likely to be conducted and uncover more evasion. However, algorithm-selected audits require less manpower and may generate less corruption. In ongoing work, we attempt to unpack the algorithm’s (dis)functioning and its interaction with human capital.