Tax Policy and Enterprise Development in South Asia

Researchers are examining the tax policies (exemptions, value-added, property) constraining small and off-farm enterprises, especially those operated by women, in South Asia.

Most off-farm employment in South Asia is marked by low productivity and low wages. The way these businesses develop and their potential for creating jobs are hindered by various policy and institutional factors. Among the most important constraints are tax policy and the ways it is administered. The gender dimension of enterprise development in South Asia is also a significant factor, but has often been neglected in policy research.

This research examines the impacts of property and value-added taxes, and tax exemptions and concessions on small enterprise development in South Asia. A collaborative research program led by Pakistan's Governance Institutes Network International includes researchers from policy think tanks in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal who will produce country studies on the three topics.

The goal is to provide decision-makers with data and insights to support more informed policy formulation and implementation for inclusive growth, productive employment, and enterprise development. The research also aims to examine the issues as they affect women entrepreneurs, to promote positive learning experiences among the countries, build fruitful exchanges, and foster effective policy discussions in a regional context.

Expected outcomes include 15 country reports - one for each of the three research themes in each country. The reports will be published and widely disseminated. Other expected outcomes are policy workshops in all five countries and workshop reports, as well as an interactive website to support research and advocacy.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Thursday, January 19, 2012

End Date

Monday, September 28, 2015


36 months

IDRC Officer

de Haan, Arjan

Total funding

CA$ 450,000


South Asia, Central Asia, Far East Asia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Pakistan


Employment and Growth

Project Leader

Daniyal Aziz


Governance Institutes Network International

Institution Country


Institution Website