We discuss existing shortfalls and inequalities in the accumulation of human capital—knowledge, skills, and health. We analyze their immediate and systemic causes, and assess the scope for public intervention. The broad policy goals should be to improve: the quality, and not just the quantity, of education and health care; outcomes for disadvantaged groups; and lifelong outcomes. The means to achieve these goals, while maximizing value for money, include: focusing on results rather than just inputs; moving from piecemeal interventions to systemic reform; and adopting a “whole-of-society” approach. Reforms must be underpinned by a robust evidence base.
Revenue authorities (RAs) have been adopted by some countries as an alternative delivery model for improved revenue administration. They are sometimes seen as a possible solution to problems such as low rates of tax compliance, ineffective tax administration staff, and corruption. The paper discusses RAs as a governance model, from the perspective of revenue administration and the almost universal desire to improve performance and compliance with the law. It compiles and analyses features of the model, examines reasons why revenue authorities were established, and explores the extent to which countries have evaluated the success of the model. It also assesses countries' own perceptions about how this model may have contributed to tax administration reform. Further, the paper discusses data collection difficulties in carrying out an assessment using econometric analysis, and the problem of attributing changes in performance to a particular governance model. The paper concludes that while there are subjective perceptions among countries with revenue authorities that their model has led to improved revenue administration and has spurred modernization, there is no objective analysis that countries with RAs have performed better in this regard than countries without RAs.