Government institutions develop a country’s policies. One of the policies is that of taxation.
The aim of these policies should be to address public issues. However, there are instances
where the desired outcome to address these issues cannot be achieved.
Institutions such as key governing figures, the media and other interest groups have been
found to be a major agent of policy change. They can be the reason why countries follow
different policy paths. Historical institutionalism, as a framework, is needed to consider the
different social, economic and political influences that these institutions have on a country’s
Main purpose of study:
This study aims to analyse the relationship between a country’s political developments and
its policy changes through the use of historical institutionalism. Furthermore, this study also
seeks to uncover why similar countries follow differing policies.
This study follows an interpretivist approach, with a systematic review strategy. This study
is exploratory as it aims to uncover facts relevant to policy changes. As policy changes are
analysed at a specific point in time, this is a longitudinal study. The study’s unit of analysis
are the different articles reviewed which are analysed through inductive reasoning.
Path dependency and critical junctures are the most common features of historical
institutionalism. This reveals that past key events and decisions made by institutions
generally cause a country to take a specific policy path.
Developing countries’ policies are influenced by government's self-interest motives while
developed countries’ policies are influenced by democratic motives.
Historical institutionalism may explain why similar countries follow different policy paths. The
study finds that different institutions have diverse influences on each country’s policies.
South Africa’s policies, specifically its taxation policies, are subjects of uncertainty. This
study finds that the use of historical institutionalism can be applied in studying South African
taxation policies. Furthermore, this framework may also be used to understand why South
Africa follows different policies to similar countries.
Mini Dissertation (MCom)--University of Pretoria, 2019.