Author ORCID Identifier

Roy Bahl:

Sally Wallace:

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



The property tax is almost everyone’s choice for the principal local government tax revenue source in developing countries. The focus of public policy on this tax and the interest it has drawn from public finance scholars and practitioners are evidence of its importance.1 Moreover, both external donors and national governments have invested significant money in strengthening its administration. Despite all of the good work that has been done in designing more efficient property tax structures and administrations, property tax revenues still account for less than 1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and less than 4 percent of all tax revenues in developing countries. In terms of revenue mobilization in developing countries, the property tax is a rounding error. But the interest in its potential continues.


(c) 2010 Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. From Bahl, Roy W., Jorge. Martinez-Vazquez, and Joan M. Youngman. Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on the Property Tax. Cambridge: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2010.

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