Collective Action and Direct Taxation, 1918–1938

Leigh A. Gardner

in Taxing Colonial Africa

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199661527
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744877 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

Collective Action and Direct Taxation, 1918–1938

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The distribution of the tax burden in colonial Africa became a contentious issue as living standards declined during the inter-war period. This was particularly true in settler colonies, where the relative taxation of settlers and Africans exacerbated the deterioration of race relations. This chapter focuses on direct taxation, comprised of poll taxes, and, in some colonies, an income tax paid by corporations and a few wealthy individuals. It uses the theory of collective action to explain why Kenya's settlers were better able to resist efforts to introduce an income tax. At the same time, the economic hardships of the Great Depression combined with an increasing tax burden for some African communities explains the early rise of organized protest among Africans in the 1920s and 1930s, particularly welfare societies which provided the foundation for nationalist movements after World War Two.

Keywords: poll tax; income tax; settlers; collective action; protest; welfare societies; Great Depression

Chapter.  12742 words.  Illustrated.

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