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PublicationUsing New Data to Support Tax Treaty Negotiation(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-07-12) World BankThis paper introduces the new Tax Treaties Explorer dataset, developed with support from the World Bank and the G-24, and illustrates its use for research by tax treaty negotiators, policy makers, and researchers. The new dataset provides a rich source of data to reexamine existing tax treaty policy, inform negotiation positions, and assess treaty networks. For the first time, it provides a tool to analyze trends in the content of tax treaties, across individual agreements, over time, and between countries. To illustrate the value of such an approach, we replicate a study by Barthel, Busse, and Neumayer (2009), which found a positive association between the presence of a tax treaty and the bilateral stock of FDI. We show that this effect is mainly driven by the withholding tax rates in the treaty rather than by other provisions affecting taxing rights such as permanent establishment. If the outcomes of this proof-of-concept replication are borne out in future research, this would suggest that negotiators can seek the maximum protection of source taxing rights in other parts of the treaty, knowing that this is unlikely to dilute investment-promoting impacts. PublicationGhana: Enhancing Revenue Mobilization Through Improved Tax Compliance and Administrative Systems(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-11-13) World BankGhana’s tax collection is low compared with other lower middle-income countries. Non-compliance of tax payments is an urgent issue in Ghana, as the government has been suffering from a widening fiscal deficit and a rising debt burden. Learning from experiences in other countries, this report proposes potential interventions that could improve tax compliance. PublicationFreedom of Information Access: Key Challenges, Lessons Learned and Strategies for Effective Implementation(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-06-01) World BankImplementation of the right to information as established in a Freedom of Information Access (FOIA) Law provides a foundation for institutionalization of transparency and support for anti-corruption efforts. Passage of a FOIA law is only a first step toward accessibility of data and documents held by public agencies, however. Effective implementation of a FOIA requires that public agencies take additional steps to put laws into practice and overcome common implementation challenges that can render FOIA laws ineffective. This note, which builds on previous World Bank research on factors determining effective implementation of FOIA laws, reviews cases of introduction of FOIA laws around the world and summarizes the main challenges, lessons learned and key strategies emerging from these experiences. Its primary aim is to inform Italian public agencies charged with implementation of the FOIA law about steps they can take toward effective implementation. As such, it focuses on areas of activity typically within the purview of public agencies, as opposed to those typically in scope of policymakers or central agencies charged with implementation and/or legislative oversight of FOIA. PublicationBangladesh: Political Economy of Right to Information(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-04-30) Ahsan, Syed Khaled; Hasan, Sadik; Imran, Nadee NaboneetaThe Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2009, was a milestone in the legal history of Bangladesh to ensure people’s right to obtain information from the government offices and other organizations. This act covers most bodies owned, controlled, or substantially financed either directly or indirectly by the government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The act aims at giving citizens the right to hold the government accountable. In the 1990s, civil society advocated for the RTI Act as one of the best-fitted tools to establish good governance. The act was drafted by the government and civil society organizations (CSOs) together, following an analysis of a few other RTI Acts. A caretaker administration further cemented the path for the introduction of the RTI Act. The Council of Advisors of the caretaker administration approved the RTI Ordinance in September 2008, and it became formally recognized as a law from October 20, 2008. The democratically elected new government passed the RTI Act in March 2009, in the very first session of Parliament. The context of introducing a law for RTI in Bangladesh was different from that of India. The demand came from the grassroots level in India with a 40-day sit-in protest by a citizens’ rights body in 1996. In the case of Bangladesh, it came from Dhaka-based elites and lacked connection with the grassroots (Article 19 2015). The RTI Act, 2009, helps investigative journalism, but that is not the entire goal of this act. The goal is to empower citizens with information and make livelihoods easier for the ones who will otherwise have no means of getting answers from the state or other social actors. PublicationThe Regulation of Digital Trade: Key Policies and International Trends(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-01-04) Daza Jaller, Lillyana; Gaillard, Simon; Molinuevo, MartínOne day, people will wonder how global trade was even possible with before goods and services were bought and sold in global digital markets without regard or even knowledge of where sellers and buyers where located. We are not there yet --not by a long shot. For now, digital trade remains segmented mostly along national and regional boundaries, due largely to a combination of lack of consumer trust in online transactions and regulatory differences across borders, as well as the inherent challenges of moving goods internationally. Regulation plays a central role in building the foundations of digital markets. It can provide the legal tools necessary for remote contracts, clarify the rights and obligations of the multiple actors involved in digital transactions, and establish a framework that promotes consumer trust in digital markets, even when the consumer does not know the merchant or when the merchant is in a different country. However, regulation can also further segment digital trade, de facto restricting digital transactions to within national boundaries, or allowing for cross-border transactions with some partners to flourish, while limiting others. This can be the intended result of regulatory measures that limit cross-border data flows or online purchases or may be the undesired effect of regulatory differences across countries that leads businesses to offer different goods and services across boundaries.