Development Economics – How digitisation can improve the operation of public administration in The Gambia

Kanifing Municipal Council – which is economically The Gambia’s largest council, responsible for almost 400,000 people – is currently working with Nuffield Postdoctoral Research Fellow Victor Pouliquen to explore how digitalisation could improve the way it operates.

Together they are developing a study on digitalisation in public administration, including how it could be harnessed to improve how property taxes is collected and waste is managed.

Victor’s core research interests are in Development Economics and Applied Microeconomics, with a particular focus on how new technologies can reshape the way governments collect taxes, and on the consequences of informality in developing countries. He also has an ongoing collaboration with the tax administration in Senegal, which is carrying out a comprehensive fiscal census in the region of the capital, Dakar, using IT tools he and colleagues have developed in partnership with the tax administration.

Victor’s recent work also includes activity with Development Media International (DMI), which runs evidence-based media campaigns to change behaviours and improve lives in low-income countries. DMI’s approach was evaluated in a study by Victor and colleagues measuring the impact of an intensive radio campaign that promoted modern contraception use in Burkina Faso, West Africa. The studied showed promising effects and the campaign was scaled-up nationally. 

In November 2022, he met with the mayor of Kanifing, the largest municipality in the Gambia, to discuss a potential collaboration on a project studying how new technologies can be used to improve local public service delivery (waste management) and property tax management. They applied together and got a project development grant with the JPAL-Digifi Initiative. This grant will fund a trip to Gambia in March 2023 to meet again and work with the team on a research design, and apply to more funding for a large-scale project.  

To find out more about his research, follow Victor on Twitter at @VictorPouliquen.