Research Conference

31 August 2012
Research Conference on « Measurement in Customs and Tax administrations in Developing and Emerging Countries »
Date: 5-6 March 2012
Location: Algiers, Algeria


Measurement of public policy is presented as a legacy of the New Public Management (NPM) theory initiated in the 1970s. Researchers have extensively analyzed NPM and measurement in public services, especially in “social” fields such as Health and Education. Paradoxically, the tax and customs administrations, which use numbers in their daily activity, have been the subject of limited empirical research, particularly in developing and emerging countries. In these countries, measurement appears under disparate forms with common features and stakes which have to be understood.
Measurement is put forward as an appropriate solution to regulate relations within the administration among officials, and between the administration and its outside (users, donors, government). Be it to achieve an optimal level of revenue, to improve the effectiveness of controls, to strengthen the political authority and internal control, or to improve the relationship with different types of users, measurement is seen as an administrative technique which furthers objectivity. When applied to taxation, however, measurement is never neutral. To use figures and name them (for instance “performance” or “risk”) is part of a political, economical and social process that has to be informed. These processes also interfere with the professional culture of customs and taxes, based on both a coercive function and freedom to implement. Their freedom of action when they control goods and people can be challenged by measurement.
The objective of this research conference is twofold. On the one hand, the aim is to promote applied research on existing measurement tools and/or experiments conducted by customs and tax administrations, international organizations and donors. As such, practitioners will report on the implementation of practices of quantification, its difficulties and the changes observed.
On the other hand, the aim of the conference is to deepen the analysis of measurement as a technique of government as it applies to tax, with the help of several disciplines (anthropology, law, economics, history, political science and sociology). Several questions will be addressed: the global dissemination of similar techniques of government through taxation, the role of international organizations and donors in the production and dissemination of "standards" for measurement, the effect of measurement on the coercive relationship between officials and users and how the introduction and the use of measurement modify the relations within the tax and customs administrations.

Organizing committee and discoursers

  • Mohamed Benguerna - Applied Economic Research Center for Development (CREAD)
  • Hanane Benyagoub – Algerian Customs
  • Giorgio Blundo – Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Centre Norbert Elias)
  • Thomas Cantens – World Customs Organization and Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Centre Norbert Elias)
  • Robert Ireland – World Customs Organization
  • Mathilde Maurel – Paris 1 Sorbonne University (Centre d’économie de la Sorbonne)
  • Gael Raballand – World Bank
  • Patricia Revesz – World Customs Organization

Communications will be presented by

  • Hanane Benyagoub (Algerian Customs)
  • Helge Berger (International Monetary Fund) & Volker Nitsch (Technische Universität Darmstadt)
  • Samson Bilangna & Marcellin Djeuwo (Cameroon Customs)
  • Enrique Fanta (World Bank)
  • Alexey Gubin (Academy of Russian Customs)
  • Sébastien Jeannard (Poitiers University - GERFIP/FONDAFIP)
  • Bertrand Laporte & Anne-Marie Geourjon (CERDI – Senegal Customs)
  • José Muñoz (Emory University USA)
  • Thomas Orliac (Sciences Po / OECD)
  • Xavier Pascual (French Customs)
  • Mahesh C Purohit (Foundation for Public Economics and Policy Research (New Delhi))
  • Md. Harun Or Rashid (Institute of Governance Studies (IGS), BRAC University, Dhaka )
  • Habtamu Alebachew Simesh (Mekelle University, Ethiopia)
  • Soyoung Yang (Korean Customs)